13th November 2015
Officials at the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas are planning huge changes to its mesh fencing almost a year after a three-year-old boy fell into a jaguar enclosure and sustained serious injuries.
The inquisitive toddler was on a day out with his father and grandfather in October 2014 when he fell 15 feet over the railings into a jaguar exhibit while trying to get a closer look at the big cats. Within seconds, one of the animals was seen with its jaws around the little boy’s neck and he sustained serious lacerations and puncture wounds before being rescued by zoo workers, who used fire extinguishers to keep the animals at bay. The boy was transported to hospital within five minutes, where he luckily made a full recovery. The accident, however, left visitors understandably nervous and the zoo was forced to close for a number of days afterwards.
A comprehensive investigation was carried out following the shocking incident and now major measures are coming into force to ensure that an accident of this sort does not happen again. Central to these plans are a series of new two-part fences, which will be erected around the big cats and great apes areas, making the exhibits much more secure. The two sets of fencing are separated by an empty area, meaning if anyone or anything were to fall over the railings, they would still be cut-off from the wild animals in the pens. In addition, the new fencing will be much taller and wider than the previous set of railings.
The team in Arkansas have decided to install a range of perimeter mesh fencing already used in zoos all over the world, this mesh fencing is multi-purpose in its design, being strong, able to withstand considerable weight and easy to see through. Once the new zoo fencing is complete, the Little Rock Zoo is confident that parents will be able to let their little ones enjoy the wild animal exhibits fully, without any risk of falling or injuring themselves.