Florida Rhino incident: New report details extent of girl's injuries

“When the child fell, she apparently startled two of the rhinos and they began to strike their snouts repeatedly against the child. This caused the child to be pushed into the steel posts multiple times,” the FWC said. (WFTV.com)
Caption
“When the child fell, she apparently startled two of the rhinos and they began to strike their snouts repeatedly against the child. This caused the child to be pushed into the steel posts multiple times,” the FWC said. (WFTV.com)

The toddler who fell into a rhino exhibit at the Brevard Zoo on New Year's Day suffered a lacerated liver, an injured kidney and injuries to her back, chest, abdomen, head and leg.

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The new details were revealed in a 29-page report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released to WFTV on Wednesday. The zoo originally said the girl had suffered a small abrasion to her face.

On Jan. 1, the 21-month-old girl stumbled through the steel poles separating the public space, which is at ground level, from the Rhino Encounter exhibit.

The FWC report also said investigators believe the two poles between, which the toddler fell were about 8 inches apart.

This photo from FWC shows the girl's injuries to her abdomen. She also suffered kidney, liver, back, chest, head and leg injuries. (Source: FWC)
Caption
This photo from FWC shows the girl's injuries to her abdomen. She also suffered kidney, liver, back, chest, head and leg injuries. (Source: FWC)

According to the report, the family was at the Rhino Encounter area around noon that day, when three rhinos were in the exhibit. A few minutes later, the girl was "using a brush to touch one of the rhinos and somehow stumbled," the FWC said. Her father told the FWC the girl fell face first.

“When the child fell, she apparently startled two of the rhinos and they began to strike their snouts repeatedly against the child. This caused the child to be pushed into the steel posts multiple times,” the FWC said.

The girl’s father was struck on the right arm by one of the animals, the report said. The girl’s mother had her left arm pinned against one of the bars as she tried to grab her daughter, FWC said.

The entire incident lasted only five to 10 seconds, the FWC report said.

The report includes pictures of the girl in the hospital, wearing a cervical collar and attached to several machines.

After the FWC released its report, the Brevard Zoo said it will issue a statement after they "thoroughly review the report."