MELBOURNE, Fla. — Brevard Zoo officials are making recommendations to state wildlife officials about possible changes to its rhinoceros exhibit after a toddler slipped in and was hospitalized.

  • Toddler hospitalized after falling into rhino exhibit on New Year's Day
  • Mother was also hurt going in after her, transported to ORMC
  • Brevard Zoo making recommendations to FWC on possible changes

The 2-year-old girl was at the zoo's Rhino Encounter on New Year's Day when she "did stumble back and fell between the bars into the rhino exhibit," zoo Executive Director Keith Winsten said that day. Her mother was also injured when she jumped in to get her child.

At least one of the rhinos "made contact" with the girl while she was in the exhibit, officials said.

The girl was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and the mom transported by ambulance to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The family was discharged from Orlando Health over the weekend.

Zoo officials said Wednesday that they're sending recommendations for the rhino encounter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisison and are waiting to hear back before releasing those details.

The zoo says it's open to possibly adding horizontal bars to the exhibit, but it's contingent on what FWC deems necessary. 

The Rhino Encounter has been suspended for a review of safety procedures.

In 2008, FWC inspected the rhino encounter area and the materials used in the construction of the visitor interaction area.