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How ZooTampa ensures accidents like children falling into a rhino enclosure don't happen

Posted at 4:41 PM, Jan 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 17:57:59-05

A Florida toddler is recovering after stumbling into a rhinoceros exhibit at the Brevard Zoo.

Officials: Florida child transported as trauma alert after falling into rhinoceros exhibit at zoo

The zoo says the two-year-old fell in between two poles that are supposed to separate people from the animals during the rhino encounter program.

The girl is expected to be okay.

Brevard Zoo said Wednesday that it is reviewing its safety protocols.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park has two rhinoceros exhibits at their Tampa location.

Chris Massaro, the zoo’s curator says they review their safety protocols weekly.

“That’s throughout the zoo,” he said, “to ensure we're up to date and we're doing the best practices possible.”

The zoo offers up-close encounters at their rhino exhibits, that they say are educational.

By email, the zoo said, ‘to date, we've facilitated more than 100 educational rhino encounters without incident. That said, guest safety during our experiences and every part of their visit to the zoo is our top priority.’

One of the rhino exhibits at ZooTampa has two barriers that include a barrier for the animal, and a barrier for the public. It includes a steel chainlink fence and wooden poles staked to the ground.

The zoo also has an enclosure that overlooks the rhino exhibit, and there is a steel mesh screen around it.

Massaro said they also have age restrictions for their up close encounters, anyone under two is not allowed in. Three and four-year-olds must be held at all times by an adult.

The zoo said they are also with trained staff the entire time.

Massaro said after any incidents across the country, the zoo will wait for the final report to see what comes out of Brevard Zoo.