A toddler has been hospitalized after an encounter with a rhino at Florida zoo on Tuesday, a Brevard Zoo spokesman told multiple outlets.

The 2-year-old was rushed to the hospital after she accidentally fell into the rhinoceros yard, local outlet WFTV reported. The zoo confirmed that one of the rhinos made contact with the child with its snout, leaving an abrasion on the toddler's face.


She and her parents were participating in a close-up experience with the rhinos, in which they were allowed to brush and feel the animals, CNN reported. They were reportedly separated from the rhinos by steel posts, which the toddler snuck through. 

"During a Rhino Encounter, a hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses, a young guest entered the rhinoceros yard and was injured," Elliot Zirulnik, a Brevard Zoo spokesman, said in a statement to WFTV. "During the encounter, participants and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steel poles."

"According to witnesses, the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles and at this point, the snout of at least one of (the) rhinoceroses made contact with the child," Zirulnik said.

The toddler's mother was also taken to the hospital to be treated for an arm injury.

The zoo in a statement to CNN said that the hands-on rhino experience has been suspended as it undergoes a safety review. It noted that there has not been a similar incident since the service began in 2009.

"Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family," Keith Winsten, the zoo's executive director, told CNN. "Safety has always been of paramount importance to us."

The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which is caring for the 2-year-old, released a statement on behalf of the family to WFTV.

"Today has been a trying day for our family," the statement reads. "We're thankful to everyone who has reached out with their concerns. Our daughter is in good care at Arnold Palmer Hospital and is doing well. My wife was also treated for her injury and has been released from the hospital. At this time, we ask for privacy as we focus on our daughter's recovery."