Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mum saved tot's life in terrifying tapir attack at zoo

The tapir at Dublin Zoo
The tapir at Dublin Zoo

THE toddler who was mauled by a tapir at Dublin Zoo owes her life to her mother's quick thinking.

The two-year-old girl is recovering after the horrifying ordeal at lunchtime on Thursday.

The little girl – who has not been named received deep lacerations in the vicious attack.

And she suffered a 'de-gloving' of her arm – where the skin is pulled away from the flesh and hand.

She also suffered bleeding from an artery in her arm, which can lead to rapid blood loss and death if not treated immediately.

But it has emerged that her mother's quick action in defending her child from the tapir prevented deadly injuries.



The girl and her mother were in the enclosure with the Brazilian animal when the attack occurred.

The tapir, which is about the size of a pig and looks like an anteater, first savaged the terrified young girl, and then mauled her mother when she tried to save her daughter.

The mother – who is believed to be from the west of Ireland – didn't freeze or panic when the terrifying attack happened.

"She may have had some involvement with animals," a source told the Herald.

"She acted in a way that was unexpected and was quick-thinking. It was clear she had an understanding of animals."

The mother received less serious injures such as lacerations to the skin as she tried to fight off the animal.

The child was said to have been unconscious as she was taken from the tapir enclosure

A witness to the aftermath of the attack has reported that the child's clothes were ripped from her body, and the mother's trousers were torn away also.

She is believed to have seen the woman climb back over the fence from the enclosure with her daughter in her arms, both half naked and with blood everywhere.

An ambulance from Phibsborough as well as a fire tender were sent to the zoo after the emergency call.

All Dublin Fire Brigade personnel, whether they are on ambulance or fire brigade duty, are trained paramedics able to deal with severe and life-threatening injuries.

No details about the girl have been released, but it is understood she is responding well to treatment at Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Her mother is also receiving treatment at the Mater Hospital.

The mother and daughter were having a supervised visit to the tapir enclosure when the female animal, who recently gave birth to a cub, attacked.

Dublin Zoo said such supervised visits have now been stopped.

"The welfare of our visitors and animals is of paramount importance and all steps are taken by our experienced staff to ensure optimum safety," said a zoo spokesperson.

"Dublin Zoo would like to underline that this was very much an isolated incident. Tapirs are normally extremely calm and passive animals."


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