A two-year-old girl and her mother are recovering in hospital after being mauled by a Brazilian tapir at Dublin Zoo.

The toddler was attacked by the tapir during one of the zoo's regular supervised visits. Her mother was also injured when she went to save her child.

Dublin Zoo's first aid team was at the scene immediately, and attended to the injured guests.

It is understood the mother and daughter were taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital for treatment. The girl underwent surgery after suffering deep injuries to her arm and abdomen.

Dublin Zoo described the incident as an "unfortunate accident" and said an investigation is under way.

A spokesperson added: "The welfare of our visitors and animals is of paramount importance and all steps are taken by our experienced staff to ensure optimum safety.

"Management at the zoo has launched an investigation into this regrettable occurrence and is reviewing all of its procedures with respect to supervised animal visits.

"Dublin Zoo would like to underline this was very much an isolated incident. We would also like to emphasise that our immediate concern is the health and wellbeing of the visitors involved in this accident.

"The staff of Dublin Zoo is deeply upset by this incident and we reiterate strongly that their upmost concern lies with the visitors and their speedy recovery."

It is believed the tapir which attacked the girl was a male calf, born in June.

The tapir is a relative of the horse and rhinoceros, and the Brazilian tapir is one of four species of tapir in the world. They are known to be aggressive in their behaviour, which experts believe is due to their poor vision.