Wild video shows an elephant charging at a man, who apparently brought a small child past a zoo fence and dropped the girl as the animal lunged. Police say that adult was Jose Manuel Navarrete, 25. The child was identified as his two-year-old daughter. It’s no surprise that the man is in trouble with cops and the San Diego Zoo, but perhaps no one wanted him out of the enclosure more than that very large, gray mammal.
As seen on video, an adult and a child were on the inside of the fence. He was holding the girl, apparently posing. The elephant got rather hostile, and lunged for the humans. Other people on the other side of fence yelled.
“Watch out!” said a woman.
The man apparently dropped the child while crossing the fence, and picked her back up. All told, it could have been worse. The elephant stopped short of the fence.
“This afternoon, March 19, 2021, two guests, despite multiple barriers, purposely and illegally trespassed into a habitat, which is home to our Asian and African elephants,” the San Diego Zoo in a statement obtained by NBC San Diego. “San Diego Zoo security promptly responded to the incident, but the guests had already exited the habitat.”
There were no injuries, said both cops and the zoo, according to Fox 5 San Diego. Witnesses told the outlet it looked like the man was trying to take a picture. They urged him to get out of there
“We told him to get out,” Jake Ortale said. “He turned around. He saw it, thankfully, just in time. He runs, throws his baby through the gate and [the elephant is] seconds from just hitting him. He jumps through the gate, falls, the baby’s on the ground and that’s when [the elephant] roared.”
“The poor thing,” Lori Ortale said. “The poor baby’s sobbing, crying.”
“The baby starts crying,” Jake Ortale said. “People were just mad at this guy.”
Navarrete faces a charge of child cruelty with possible injury or death. He is being held at the San Diego Central jail in lieu of a $100,000 bail. A court date is scheduled for March 30. It is unclear if he has an attorney in this matter.
[Screengrab via Fox 11 Los Angeles]
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