Toddler survives fall into jaguar enclosure in Arkansas zoo

A 3-year old boy fell into a jaguar pit at the Little Rock, Ark., zoo. He was quickly rescued but is hospitalized with injuries. 

A Little Rock police report says the father and grandfather of a child who fell into a jaguar exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo reported only seeing the child's feet going over the rail.

Witnesses told Fox Channel 16 in Little Rock that 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.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the child and the family. The safety of our citizens is of paramount value and our staff followed training procedures on rescuing the child and were able to respond quickly and efficiently and work with emergency personnel. A full investigation into the incident is being conducted,” said City Manager Bruce Moore.

Arkansas Children's Hospital said the child was in critical condition after falling into the exhibit about 11 a.m. Friday. ABC News reports that the child was being treated for a head injury from the fall. Hospital spokesman Dan McFadden said in a news release the child's guardian asked that the child's name and other information not be released, although police report says the child is 3.

The report says the father and grandfather threw items at the animals until zoo staff arrived and used a fire extinguisher to keep the jaguars away from the child, who was eventually pulled to safety by a zoo employee after a ladder was lowered into the exhibit.

In 1986, at 5-year old boy fell into the gorilla exhibit at the Jersey Zoo in England. According to eyewitness accounts, the father hid lifted the boy, Levan Merritt, up on the chest high wall so that he could see better. He turn to pick up his other son, and the first boy toppled into the gorilla pit.  

People watched in horror as Nandi a female gorilla and offspring moved towards Levan. Jambo closely followed. As Nandi approached Levan Jambo took charge and placed himself between them as if to say “Don’t touch!” This is thought to have been either Jambo protecting his family and perhaps at the same time satisfying his curiosity before any other members of the troop decided to find out what this human boy was doing in their home. Jambo then sat looking over the boy. Jambo then sat next to Levan and looked up curiously at the crowd as if to say “What is he doing here?”

By now a large crowd had gathered and they thought that Jambo would harm the child. Because Levan was quiet Jambo did not regard the child as a threat.

The boy was rescued by the emergency medical team who climbed into the enclosure and lifted the boy out with a rope. The entire event was captured on video.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Toddler survives fall into jaguar enclosure in Arkansas zoo
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today