A nine-year-old girl’s scary encounter with a kangaroo over the weekend at the Harmony Park Safari in Madison County, Alabama, is further proof of why wild animals should not be held in confinement.
Fortunately, Cheyenne White is currently recovering at home after receiving 14 stitches at the hospital.
WAFF 48 reported that Cheyenne’s mother, Jennifer, was filming her young daughters at the park on her phone when the incident occurred.
Numerous accounts indicated that Cheyenne and her three-year-old sister were watching the kangaroo from the other side of the fence when it stuck its head and arms through an opening in the enclosure, grabbing and apparently biting the youngster on her head.
Cheyenne reportedly was mimicking the animal before being dragged by it from her hair.
“I thought it was playing. I’m just glad it got me instead of my baby sister because it would’ve hurt her even worse,” Cheyenne White told ABC7.
The kangaroo is now under a 90-day observation at the order of state health authorities who are in the “process of limiting the chance this kangaroo will have accessibility to hurt or bite anyone else,” according to WAFF 48.
While the signage at the beginning of the trail advised visitors to enter at their own risk, under state law the enclosure had signs warning that the kangaroo bites. Additional barriers are now being constructed. The outlet confirmed that the kangaroo named Erwin, who has been at the wild animal park for nine years will remain at the park.
Lewis, an employee at the park has stated that the kangaroo was “real gentle.”
“They are not predators by design, he said. “Any troubled animals, we don’t keep them.
Almost a year ago, a similar incident made headlines when a three-year-old boy climbed through the barrier and fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Sadly, that resulted in Harambe, the 450lbs endangered Silverback Gorilla being shot to death for what some believe to be protecting the child from the screaming crowd above.
At the time, news outlets worldwide revealed other stories about dangerous encounters between children and animals held in captivity.
ABC News specifically pointed to a 1996 incident at an Illinois zoo in which a female gorilla held a young boy who fell nearly 20 feet into her enclosure, reporting that in this incident the gorilla was hailed as a hero and its life spared.
Zoo officials reportedly called the decision to kill Harambe a “tough choice.”
Ultimately, WAN and animal advocates everywhere, believe that these choices should never have to be made in the first place because wild animals should not be forced to live in confinement in an unnatural habitat such as a park or zoo solely for people’s entertainment.