DENVER - A woman was injured while feeding a rhino at the Denver Zoo Wednesday afternoon.
Zoo officials say the woman was participating in the feeding portion of the rhino encounter program when Mshindi, a black rhinoceros, bit the woman's finger. She transported to the hospital by ambulance. Her condition is not known.
"This is a terrible accident. We feel horrible for the woman involved," said Denver Zoo Animal Care VP Brian Aucone said in a statement. "Mshindi is a gentle animal. We believe this was an accident and that he was not trying to hurt anyone."
Denver Zoo also will submit a full report on the incident to its accrediting agency, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as part of its accreditation requirements.
This rhino encounter is held in a demonstration area that although visible to the public, is not accessible to the public. The zoo began offering rhino experiences for purchase earlier this year, a feature that has been safely conducted at other zoos for years. Denver Zoo has suspended the rhino encounter indefinitely pending full review of its procedures.
Mshindi was born at Denver Zoo on November 13, 1993. Rhinos are herbivores and Mshindi's diet consists of hay, fruits, vegetables and grains.
Mshindi is currently off exhibit.
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