Officials want to know why a little boy was apparently put inside the Dublin Zoo’s rhino exhibit as an adult took photos.
Authorities opened an investigation after images posted on social media showed the child standing on a rock inside the enclosure while holding the hand of a man on the other side of a fence, according to local reports.
The photos were taken over the weekend. "Just a child inside the rhino enclosure," architect Ciarán Ferrie posted to Twitter.
Another poster, Adrianna Straszewska, wrote “this man had the child in behind the fence for good 20 minutes!”
Gillian Bird, of Dublin’s SPCA, “totally and utterly condemned” the zoo visitor.
“This is horrendous, from the point of view of what is being done to the child, but also from an animal welfare point of view,” she told Ireland’s Herald.ie.
this man had the child in behind the fence for good 20 minutes ! pic.twitter.com/BzhhUW5Obr— Adrianna Straszewska (@Adriannasss) July 31, 2016
Rhinos are often unpredictable animals and can move quickly, she said.
A spokeswoman for the zoo said the investigation was being handled internally.