Zoo determined trying to save child from wild animals was ‘too dangerous’

African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh zoo

African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh zoo

African painted dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh zoo

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTVR) – “Life is full of risk. There is no fail-proof part of risk in life,” Pittsburgh Zoo President Barbara Baker said in a Monday press briefing.

A two-year-old boy was mauled to death after he fell into the zoo’s African painted dogs exhibit Sunday.

“We do everything we possibly can and we evaluate it every single day. The safety not only of our visitors, but our staff as well,” said Barker.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported that the medical examiner determined the child survived the fall into the exhibit. Baker said zoo staff was nearby at the time, but could not go into the exhibit to save the child from the wild animals.

African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh zoo

African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh zoo

“The question came to us, of course immediately, why didn’t staff go in?  And it was too dangerous,”  Barbara Baker said. “And it was determined almost immediately – called by our veterinarian who has the medical knowledge to know it was not going to help, that it was too late.  So there was no reason to send our staff into harm’s way.”

The animals that killed the child will be quarantined, not euthanized, the paper reported. The zoo will reopen Tuesday.

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