- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A 3-year-old who was critically injured after falling into a Little Rock Zoo exhibit and being bitten by jaguars was improving Saturday, hospital officials said.

“The child’s condition has been upgraded to stable and is expected to improve,” Arkansas Children’s Hospital spokesman Dan McFadden said in a statement.

The child’s guardian has asked that the name and other information about the child not be released, McFadden said. The hospital statement didn’t identify how the guardian is related to the child.

A Little Rock police report says the child’s father told officers he was taking a photograph of the jaguar exhibit Friday morning when he saw the child’s feet go over the railing. The report says the child’s grandfather also only saw the child’s feet disappear over the railing.

The child fell about 15 feet into the exhibit.

Both the father and grandfather told police they saw one jaguar bite into the child’s clothing near the neck and another bite into the child’s foot area. The father began throwing objects at the jaguars, causing the animals to move away before one returned to the child and again bit in the neck area, according to the police report.

Zoo employees arrived and used fire extinguishers to keep the animals at bay until another worker showed up with a ladder and pulled the child to safety, the report says.

Doctors told police that the child suffered scalp lacerations, a skull fracture and minor puncture wounds, but was expected to survive, according to the report.

Bruce Moore, the city manager for Little Rock, said in a statement that zoo staff followed training procedures. He promised “a full investigation” into the incident.

A statement from the zoo said the jaguar exhibit will be closed until the investigation is completed.

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