41ºF

Toddler leaves hospital after falling into Brevard Zoo rhino exhibit

2-year-old girl hurt at Brevard Zoo after falling into enclosure

Two of the four rhinos at the Brevard Zoo sleep under a tree in their exhibit. (Image: James Sparvero/WKMG)
Two of the four rhinos at the Brevard Zoo sleep under a tree in their exhibit. (Image: James Sparvero/WKMG)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The 2-year-old girl who was injured after falling into the Brevard Zoo rhinoceros enclosure last week was released from an Orlando hospital, officials with Orlando Health said.

The toddler remained at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children through last week, according to statements released by her family through the hospital.

On Monday, a hospital spokesperson confirmed to News 6 the girl was discharged from the hospital.

The toddler and her family were taking part in a close-up experience with white rhinos at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne on Jan. 1 when the girl fell into the exhibit and at least one of the animals came into contact with her.

The family of three was given access to feel and brush the rhinos while supervised by two zookeepers in an area of the zoo where they were separated from the animals only by steel posts, officials said. At some point during the experience, the toddler landed in the rhinos' yard, said Andrea Hill, the zoo's marketing and communications director.

The hands-on encounter remains closed after the incident. Zoo officials said they will make safety changes and reopen the exhibit.

Zoo and hospital officials have not released the extent of the toddler's injuries. However, 911 audio indicates she was conscious and breathing after the incident.

Officials at the zoo on Florida's Space Coast said a rhino's snout touched the girl before she was retrieved in a matter of seconds.

“We appreciate everyone’s concern about our daughter," the family said through an Orlando Health spokesperson. "At this time, we’re keeping our sole focus on her health and well-being. As her recovery continues, we will provide further updates.”


About the Author: