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Drive-through wildlife center where giraffe grabbed toddler is changing rules after viral incident

Texas safari park bans doorless vehicles after child was picked up by giraffe
Texas safari park bans doorless vehicles after child was picked up by giraffe 01:55

Video of a giraffe grabbing a toddler from the back of a pickup truck at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas went viral this week, and now the park is making changes to its rules to prevent incidents like this.

Jason Toten said his 2-year-old, Paisley, was in the back of his pickup with her mom feeding the animals along the drive-thru wildlife park. When they stopped to feed a giraffe, the animal grabbed Paisley by her shirt and lifted her feet in the air, before dropping her back down. 

"My heart stopped, my stomach dropped … it scared me," Toten said.

The people in the car behind them caught the scary moment on video. CBS News has also recently obtained video from Toten's wife, who caught the incident from her point of view.

Mom captures video of moment giraffe grabs toddler at wildlife park 00:33

Toten said it was just an accident – the giraffe was grabbing for food and accidentally latched on to his daughter. He also said they followed all park rules, which include keeping car doors closed, feeding animals with cups — not your hands — and keeping 50 feet away from gates.

The park, however, said they are changing their rules, effective immediately. 

"We were recently made aware of an incident involving one of our giraffes that occurred this past weekend," a representative for Fossil Rim told CBS News via email. "The incident was first reported to us on Monday June 3rd. The safety of our guests and animals is always of utmost importance to us."

The park has never experienced anything like this previously, and they want to ensure it doesn't happen again. "Effective immediately Fossil Rim will no longer be allowing guests to ride through the park in truck beds," the representative said. "Fossil Rim offers a variety of experiences guided by knowledgeable staff so guests can continue to have up-close and memorable animal encounters, and support our mission to save threatened and endangered species."

The incident didn't deter the family — Toten said they'd visit again. And Paisley got a stuffed giraffe from the souvenir shop after the rough ride.

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