2-year-old girl hurt after falling into rhino exhibit at Florida zoo

MELBOURNE, Florida -- Officials say a 2-year-old girl was injured after falling into the rhinoceros exhibit at a Florida zoo.

The incident happened at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne on New Year's Day.

Brevard County Fire Rescue officials said the girl was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando for treatment.

Her mother was also injured and hospitalized.

Zoo executive director Keith Winsten said the girl fell through the steel poles that separate guests from rhinos during a hands-on experience, but officials don't believe the rhino's horn touched the child.

Zoo spokesman Elliot Zirulnik says the zoo has offered the hands-on experience daily since 2009 without any incidents prior to Tuesday.

Witnesses say the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles.

"Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests, and our hearts go out to the family," Winsten said.
The zoo is suspending the rhino encounter until they have reviewed their processes and procedures.

(The Associated Press contribute to this report)

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