Zoo officials are cracking down on a growing trend of parents letting their kids wander off in search of a new pet or amusement park attraction, in what some parents say is a safety issue.
The Idaho Falls, Idaho, zoo is home to a large collection of animals that have become popular in recent years, including lions, tigers and giraffes.
In recent months, there have been more than a dozen reported cases of children falling from the animal observation towers or from trees, according to a report by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Some of the incidents have involved people walking in and out of the park, according a news release from the zoo.
“These incidents are occurring to our guests on a regular basis and are not indicative of the safety of our guests,” the statement said.
“We encourage all visitors to take the time to walk to the zoo to ensure that you and your children are not isolated from the other guests and to protect other guests from potential falls.”
The report also said there have also been more reports of people dropping to the ground from the observation towers.
One mother said her son had a fall that left him with bruises on his legs and back, and he has been treated at a local hospital for swelling and a concussion.
“I have to tell my husband, this is the first time in my life that I have ever lost my child,” she said.
Zoo officials said that as of Jan. 1, there were only eight visitors who were reported to have fallen.
The zoo, which was created in 1885, has a zoo, zoo and aquarium, and several other facilities.
The majority of the animals are from the same breed as the zoo’s lions and tigers, and are bred at the zoo by zoo-trained staff.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also manages the animals, and the U.K. Zoological Gardens is in charge of the zoo animals.
Associated Press writer Josh Miller in Chicago contributed to this report.