Five times people have fallen into animal enclosures at zoos

People fall into animal enclosures on a regular basis

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Zoo Gorilla Child Hurt


A four-year-old boy ended up in a gorilla exhibit at Cincinnati Zoo this week, leading authorities to shoot the gorilla dead to protect the child.

While investigations are continuing into how the youngster breached the enclosure, we take a look at five other times people have got a little too close to the animals – with sometimes devastating consequences for them and the creatures involved.

See also: Woman jumps into tiger enclosure to retrieve hat

1. Chicago's Brookfield Zoo – August 1996



A three-year-old boy climbed a 3ft (1m) railing and falls 18ft (5.5m) on to concrete in the primate exhibit at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. He was picked up by a motherly eight-year-old gorilla, who carried him in her arms to a gate where zookeepers could get him. Keepers sprayed water at other gorillas in the exhibit to keep them away from the boy, who suffered only minor head injuries and scrapes.


See also: Zoo worker falls into gorilla enclosure and breaks legs

2. Franklin Park Zoo, Boston – September 2003

Little Joe, a gorilla at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston

An adolescent 300lb (136kg) male gorilla named Little Joe escaped his enclosure at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston for a second time, injuring a young woman and two-year-old child. He roamed around the zoo and city streets for nearly two hours before being sedated with tranquiliser darts and recaptured. The girl's grandmother says the gorilla threw the child to the ground.

3. Pittsburgh Zoo – November 2012
A two-year-old boy was mauled and died after lunging from his mother's grasp and falling around 10ft (3m) from the top of a wooden railing into an exhibit of African painted dogs at Pittsburgh Zoo. He bounced off a net meant to catch falling debris and rubbish, then plunged into the enclosure. Some of the attacking dogs were called or drawn away, but police shot one that was particularly aggressive. The boy's family sued the zoo but did not disclose details of the resulting settlement

4. Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas – October 2014

A three-year-old boy got over a railing, fell around 15ft (4.6m) into a jaguar exhibit at Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas and was bitten by two of the big cats on the neck and foot. The child's father threw objects at the jaguars, and employees used fire extinguishers to further deter them until a worker with a ladder pulled the boy to safety. He was critically hurt but survives.

5. Cleveland Zoo – April 2015
A two-year-old boy fell around 10ft (3m) into a cheetah exhibit at Cleveland Zoo after his mother dangled him over a railing. The cheetahs did not approach, and his parents jumped in and pull the boy to safety. He was treated for bruises.

Controvery Over Gorilla Killing At Cincinnati Zoo