Brevard Zoo(MELBOURNE, Fla.) — The toddler who was injured when she fell into a rhinoceros exhibit at a Florida zoo has been discharged, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The 2-year-old girl fell into the enclosure while participating in the "Rhino Encounter," a hands-on educational experience at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne on New Year's Day, the zoo said in a statement.
During the event, which is led by a zookeeper for visitors ages 3 and older, participants and rhinoceroses are separated by steel poles, according to the statement. The toddler stumbled and fell between the poles, and the snout of "at least one of the rhinoceroses made contact" with her, the zoo said.
She was then taken to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children "in a matter of seconds," according to the zoo.
The child's mother also suffered non-critical injuries to her arm, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue.
After the incident, the toddler's father released a statement through the hospital requesting privacy. The family was not identified by officials.
"They have expressed that if and when they’re ready to share their story with the media, they will reach out," Alayna Curry, media relations manager for the hospital, told ABC Orlando station WFTV in a statement on Monday.
The "Rhino Encounter" program was suspended while the zoo evaluates its safety, but the rhinoceros who touched the child will not be "punished," zookeepers said a day after the incident.
"The welfare of the rhinos was never compromised and they will not be 'punished' in any way," the zoo added in its statement.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is conducting a standard investigation into the incident.
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