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Norman zoo examines safety after boy’s attack

From Staff Reports Modified: September 29, 2009 at 5:52 am •  Published: September 29, 2009
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NORMAN – A zoo is looking into safety procedures after a 3-year-old boy was clawed by a caged lynx while on a visit Monday.

The boy was on a tour with his family at the Little River Zoo when he approached the lynx and was cut, Zoo Director Janet Schmid said.

The European lynx, Freya, was separated from a swan enclosure by a rope fence and a retaining wall, Schmid said. When the boy approached to look at the swans, he walked under a fence and the lynx reached out and clawed him.

Schmid said officials from the zoo will discuss holding areas around the pens today. She said they plan to make changes to prevent children from wandering under a fence in the future.

"Obviously, since the child was able to get under the fence, we do need to look at that and so we’ll make it more two-year-old proof for sure,” Schmid said. "Anything that we could do different here. We’re kind of in shock because nothing has ever happened. But because it did happen, yes, we are looking at it.”

Norman police were called to the scene about 2:55 p.m., Capt. Leonard Judy said.

The boy was taken to Norman Regional Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Judy said.

"We’ve had a scratch, maybe, ... but nothing like this. But this (the injury) isn’t serious. He didn’t get bit and he’s OK and that’s wonderful,” Schmid said.

The lynx has been at the zoo since birth. It will be sequestered and examined by a veterinarian, she said.