SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) — A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of child neglect and abuse after cell phone video captured him taking his 2-year-old daughter into an elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo to take a picture.
The harrowing incident was witnessed by several people visiting the zoo on Friday afternoon. The video shows a man made his way into the enclosure with a little girl and stop for a picture. He then runs back toward enclosure fence, dropping the daughter at one point, as an elephant approaches and seems to trumpet a warning.
Jose Navarette was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, abuse and trespassing.
The San Diego Zoo confirmed the Friday incident with a statement.
"On March 19, two guests, despite multiple barriers, purposely and illegally trespassed into a habitat, which is home to our Asian and African elephants. San Diego Zoo security promptly responded to the incident, but the guests had already exited the habitat. Both the elephants and the guests are unharmed," the statement said.
Other visitors to the zoo were heard screaming in the video as the father and daughter scrambled out of the enclosure.
San Diego Zoo did not say if any new safety protocols would be taken following the elephant enclosure breach. The Zoo remained open and did not close due to the incident.
Navarette was being held on $100,000 bail for the child cruelty charges. He was expected to make his first court appearance on March 30.
for more features.