3-Year-Old Boy is Critically Injured After Falling Into Zoo’s Jaguar Exhibit

A 3-year-old boy was critically injured at an Arkansas zoo on Friday after he accidentally fell into a jaguar exhibit, where he was bitten by a large cat.

The incident took place at the Little Rock Zoo, where the young child was reportedly visiting the popular attraction with his parents and grandfather. While observing the impressive, huge jaguars, the boy’s grandfather did something many guardians wouldn’t think twice about doing: he sat him up on the railing of the exhibit. And then, the unthinkable happened: the child fell in and was surrounded by two cats.

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One of the jaguars reportedly bit the boy’s neck, according to witnesses, while zoo workers called for help and used a fire extinguisher to keep the cats away from the child. While they sprayed the jaguars, one employee climbed into the exhibit via ladder and saved the child.

He was rushed to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he is being treated for “extensive scalp lacerations, a depressed skull fracture and minor puncture wounds.” Officials say he was conscious and responsive. Our thoughts are with this child and his family, who are obviously suffering a great deal. I can’t imagine how this child’s poor grandfather feels knowing his actions caused this tragedy.

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This horrific story will certainly make me think twice before taking any risks at a zoo or museum that contains dangerous animals. We’ve heard so many stories recently about children and animals and the danger can’t simply be ignored.

Do you think it is a zoo’s responsibility to ensure children can’t get into exhibits or is that the duty of a parent or guardian?


Image via Ross Elliott/Flickr

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