A careless parent put the life of his child in danger when he tried to pose with an African elephant at the San Diego Zoo on Friday, March 19 after 4:00 p.m. local time. 25-year-old Jose Manuel Navarrete carried his two-year-old daughter, who has not been named, into the elephant enclosure at the zoo.

Other visitors were left watching in horror at the elephant charged the duo. Following the incident, the father was arrested and is set to appear in court for child cruelty charges.

A video emerged of the fateful afternoon when zoo visitors were left fearing for the life of a toddler. Navarrete climbed over a fence and went through a second barrier with his child. He pulled the stunt just to take a picture with the elephants inside the enclosure.

In the video, the man can be seen posing with the child in his arms and his back turned towards the enclosure inhabitants. The heart-stopping video shows an elephant loudly charge at the duo. On his way away from the animal, Navarrete is seen stumbling through one of the barriers.

The video captures him fumbling and dropping the toddler just beyond the barrier, well within the reach of the pachyderm. He then manages to pick the child up before ambling back towards the first fence.

While the reckless act endangered both the humans and animal involved, there have not been reports of any injuries related to the incident.

The trespass was reported and San Diego police arrested Navarrete. Fox News reported that the child went home with her mother following the arrest. The purposeful trespasser is facing a felony charge of child cruelty, including possible injury or death, for endangering his child. He has been held on $100,000 bail. According to county jail records, his arraignment, with no projected release, is scheduled for March 30 at 8:00 a.m.

Speaking to KTVB-7 Catherine Doyle, of Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) stated that she believed that the animal involved was a female elephant named Chaba. She added that Chaba had been taken from the wild as a calf. Doyle pointed out that the elephant was merely threatening the intruders with a mock charge but the situation could have been worse.

African elephants are endangered and could be gone in 12 years.
Image stock.xchang

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