Toddler falls into jaguar pit at Arkansas Zoo

A toddler who fell into a jaguar pit at an Arkansas zoo Friday morning escaped with non-life threatening injuries after staff members used fire extinguishers to keep the animal at bay, police said.

Sgt. James Sloan, a spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department, told the Los Angeles Times that the child plummeted into the exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo at about 10:45 a.m.

The child slipped under the railing while his father was trying to take pictures of the animals, and fell roughly 16 feet to the ground, according to a police report.

A yellow jaguar and a black jaguar began to circle the boy, causing a panicked scene as several staff members went into the pit after the child and the boy’s relatives threw items at the cats.


One of the cats placed its mouth around the neck of the child, who also suffered a bite wound to the foot, according to the police report. Several of the boy’s family members and other onlookers also threw a hose and a camera bag at the animals, while staff members raced into the pit with fire extinguishers, according to the police report.

Eventually, staff members used a ladder to rescue the child, according to the report.

Sloan told The Times that staff members have been trained to spray animals with fire extinguishers if a visitor enters an exhibit. Calls to the zoo seeking comment were not returned.

The boy was taken to an area hospital and treated for a skull fracture and “minor puncture wounds,” according to the police report.


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