Child stable after fall into jaguar exhibit at zoo

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – A 3-year-old who fell into the jaguar exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo was in stable condition Saturday and “is expected to improve,” officials say.

The boy was being treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for extensive scalp lacerations, a depressed skull fracture, and minor puncture wounds.

Lt. Sidney Allen of the Little Rock Police Department said Friday it was not known whether the puncture wounds came from the fall or one of the animals in the exhibit. Doctors said the wounds were not life-threatening.

Officials did not release the name of the child.

“We respect the wishes of the child’s guardian who asked that the child’s name and any additional information not be shared at this time,” hospital spokesman Dan McFadden said.

According to the police report, the child fell approximately 15-16 feet into a cat exhibit at the zoo Friday morning.

A primate zookeeper who called emergency services told police that she saw one of the jaguars with its mouth around the little boy’s neck.

The child’s father told police that he ran to get help and returned to throw items at the cats to keep them at bay — one ran off and didn’t return while other circled back and reportedly bit the child on the back of the neck. The report indicated that the father threw something else at the cat and got it to release the child.

Shortly afterward, more zoo workers arrived. The report says that one worker arrived with a fire extinguisher to keep the animals away while another climbed into the exhibit with a ladder to get the child out.

According to Captain Weaver with the Little Rock Fire Department, the boy was reportedly out of the enclosure by the time the fire department arrived.

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