Young boy pictured inside rhino enclosure at zoo

DUBLIN Zoo has launched an inquiry after a picture emerged on social media of a young boy inside a rhino enclosure.

The picture showed the boy stood on a rock while holding the hand of an older man, with a rhino stood in the background. He is seen less than a yard from the fence, standing on large boulders which act as an additional barricade several feet above the ground while the man was seen taking pictures.

Ciaran Ferrie, an architect who photographed the incident, Tweeted the picture with the caption: "Just a child inside the Rhino enclosure at Dublin Zoo."

Another Twitter user who saw the incident, Adrianna Straszewska, posted a close up picture of the boy with the caption: "This man had the child in behind the fence for a good 20 minutes!"

A spokeswoman for the zoo said the incident was being reviewed internally. It is understood the health and safety standards of the African Savanna enclosure for the zoo's southern white rhinos are also being examined, Press Association reports.

Dublin Zoo has experienced a number of incidents involving its animals down the years, including a teenager from Belfast who was attacked by an Amur tiger in 2006 after scaling two fences and reaching her arm in through a third fence.

In 2010 a penguin was stolen in a suspected prank and in 2008 an orangutan escaped from its enclosure while a school tour was walking by.

Dublin Zoo is expected to reveal a further response to the latest incident in the coming days.

Additional reporting by Press Association