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Man Arrested After Carrying Two-Year-Old Daughter Into Elephant Enclosure At Zoo

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Man Arrested After Carrying Two-Year-Old Daughter Into Elephant Enclosure At Zoo

A man has been arrested following reports that he carried his two-year-old daughter into the elephant enclosure at San Diego Zoo. Watch here:

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Police were called at around 4pm on Friday (19 March) after the man was spotted carrying his toddler into the enclosure through two fences - one of which was electrified.

Footage shows the man holding his daughter in the exhibit before an elephant charges from behind, prompting onlookers to shout and scream in horror. The man then appears to drop the child, before gathering her up as the elephant trumpets and waves its trunk.

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San Diego Police Department subsequently arrested Jose Navarrete, saying he had 'wanted to take a photo with the African bull elephant'.

The force said the 25-year-old could at least face child endangerment charges and officers are investigating whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The zoo said in a statement that Navarrete 'purposely and illegally trespassed into a habitat, which is home to our Asian and African elephants', adding that neither he, his daughter or the elephant were injured.

An eyewitness told ABC 10 that Navarrete and his daughter were lucky to come out of the enclosure alive.

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It could have ended a lot worse. Credit: ABC News/Bryan Episioco
It could have ended a lot worse. Credit: ABC News/Bryan Episioco

He said: "We were standing right there. We were 20 yards away, yelling, 'Dude, what are you doing? Get out of there! Get the baby out! What are you doing? Get out of the elephant enclosure!'

Another eyewitness, Matthew Passiglia, told NBC 7: "The elephant is screaming and charging him. He's unaware of what's going on and barely got out of there with his life and his child's life.

"A lot of people froze and didn't know really how to take it in, then immediately everyone was pleading with him and then it became frantic and hysterical.

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"It was a big roar, [The elephant] stuck its head up in the air and its tusks and he started trotting toward them.

"I didn't think it was going to end well.

"There was a moment when the elephant had the option and luckily the elephant took a second guess and there was confusion right there on the floor with them."

Basically, climbing into an enclosure at the zoo is an extraordinarily bad idea - in 1996, a man was mauled after he climbed into an enclosure housing two Manchurian brown bears, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Featured Image Credit: ABC News/Bryan Episioco

Topics: US News, crime, elephants, Animals

Jake Massey
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