According to the Cleveland Zoo and eye-witnesses, a 2-year-old boy fell several feet into the cheetah exhibit on Saturday afternoon after the mother dangled him over the railing. The incident happened at around 3 p.m. ET.
Reportedly the child’s parents retrieved the toddler safely from the cheetah exhibit before paramedics and firefighters arrived on the scene.
Christopher Kuhar, executive director for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, told the media that, fortunately, the cheetahs did not attempt to attack anyone in the family. The unnamed child was then taken to the MetroHealth Medical Center for a leg injury. He was later listed as being in a stable condition.
A 2-year-old boy fell into the cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland’s zoo, park officials said. http://t.co/J84yzdYhvb
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 12, 2015
According to Kuhar, several witnesses to the incident claim the toddler was held over the railing and then dropped into the cheetah exhibit. He said the zoo plans to file child endangerment charges against the parents.
USA Today quoted Michael Lurie as saying he was at the zoo with his family and witnessed the incident at the cheetah exhibit.
“We were coming around the gorillas and we heard a kid screaming,” he explained.
Lurie continued, “You saw how far the drop was and you just couldn’t believe the kid didn’t hurt himself from falling down on the ground. I’m looking at the cheetahs and then all I hear is the screams. Everything happened so quick.”
Terra Lurie said that the cheetahs appeared to be simply curious about what was happening and “why somebody was in the pen with them because it’s not every day that somebody is just in the pen with them.”
She added that everyone else was screaming and the cheetahs probably got scared.
According to Larry Gray, spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Department, the boy’s mother was apparently holding the toddler and another child when the boy slipped and fell into the cheetah pit.
Michael Lurie added that he was just shocked and couldn’t understand how “the parents let the kid go over the thing.” Saying that the incident was very disturbing to everyone watching, he added that they are glad the child’s injuries were not more severe.
According to the Daily Mail, the cheetah exhibit was closed after the incident but will reopen Sunday.
2-Year-Old Falls Into Cheetah Exhibit At Cleveland Zoo – CLEVELAND (AP) — Officials say a 2-year-old boy is recove… http://t.co/84ZsDIyMbm
— ronfeir (@ronfeir) April 12, 2015
In rather more heartwarming news about cheetahs, the Inquisitr recently posted a video of Pancake the cheetah cub who lives at Winston, a wildlife safari in Oregon.
[Image: Cheetah at Cleveland MetroParks Zoo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 David Ellis]