MELBOURNE, Fla. — A child fell into a rhino exhibit at the Brevard Zoo and had to be airlifted to the hospital. 

  • Girl's family was in the Rhino Encounter experience
  • Mother was injured trying to rescue the child
  • Brevard Zoo has closed Rhino Encounter until a review is conducted

Brevard County Fire Rescue confirms the two-year-old girl fell into the rhino exhibit Tuesday. The child was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

The girl's mother was also injured and taken by ambulance to an Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Officials tell Spectrum News reporter Caitlin Wilson that the mother was injured trying to rescue her child.

The Brevard Zoo released a statement, saying the family was taking part in Rhino Encounter, a hands-on educational experience. The encounter has since been removed from the website.

The zoo says during the experience a series of steel poles separates participants from the rhinos.

“While being held by the father the girl did stumble back and fell between the bars into the rhino exhibit," said zoo executive director Keith Winsten. "This is a flat level exhibit so there was no fall, per se, just fell back into it.” 

The zoo said the snout of at least one of the rhinos "made contact" with the girl.

The zoo says it is suspending the encounter, pending a review of safety procedures.

"Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family," said zoo executive director Keith Winsten.

The condition of the mother and girl are unknown right now.