Caught On Cam: Elephant Charges At Man Who Took His 2-Year-Old Daughter Into Enclosure At San Diego Zoo

CBS4's Nichelle Medina reports Jose Manuel Navarrete was arrested for the incident.

Video Transcript


- Caught on camera, a terrifying scene at the San Diego Zoo when a man took his young daughter into the elephant enclosure to take a selfie.

- So hard to believe. And when the elephant noticed, it started to approach him, causing the man to scramble out of the enclosure. CBS4's Nichelle Medina has what happened next.

NICHELLE MEDINA: Spectators at the San Diego Zoo could not believe their eyes when a man entered the elephant habitat carrying his two-year-old daughter.

- Oh.

- Watch out.


NICHELLE MEDINA: The elephant approached the intruders and 25-year-old Jose Navarrete scrambled to get out. At one point, he dropped the girl and had to rush back to grab her before it was too late.

CATHERINE DOYLE: It's an extremely dangerous situation and no one in their right mind really should ever do this.

NICHELLE MEDINA: Catherine Doyle, director of science, research, and advocacy at the Performing Animal Welfare Society, says the animal was protecting its space.

CATHERINE DOYLE: Well, the elephant you saw I believe is [? Shaba ?] and she was responding really as an elephant would to an intruder. So it looked to me like it was a mock charge, which is really intended to scare off an intruder. However, if [? Shaba ?] thought her message wasn't getting through, it could have turned into a more serious attack.

NICHELLE MEDINA: Navarrete reportedly told police he wanted to get a selfie with the elephant. Luckily, no one was hurt. He was arrested and charged with child endangerment. Nichelle Medina, CBS News, San Diego.

- And police say after the father's arrest, the child went home with her mother.