A 3-year-old boy is in stable condition and expected to improve after he fell 10 feet into an Arkansas zoo’s popular exhibit and was mauled by two jaguars.
The incident happened Friday morning at the Little Rock Zoo. Zookeepers managed to pull the boy to safety after a dramatic rescue. One 911 caller told dispatchers that the boy was in with the jaguars and, “It’s not good.”
The unidentified toddler suffered a depressed skull fracture, minor puncture wounds and extensive scalp lacerations and was listed in critical condition, Fox 16 in Little Rock reported. The wounds did not appear to be life threatening, and officials later upgraded his condition to stable.
Witnesses told the station they saw the two jaguars bite the boy near his neck and foot.
The cats let go of the child when the boy’s father and grandfather threw a camera bag and a water hose spool at the animals.
Workers at the zoo responded immediately. One zookeeper used a fire extinguisher to get the cats away from the child. Another climbed down a ladder and pulled the boy out of the exhibit.
“The child was then handed to the child’s father and both were taken by golf cart to the Zoo’s back gate entrance where the child was placed in an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital,” Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore said in a statement.
Authorities were trying to determine how the child fell into the exhibit.