Updated: 4:27 PM PDT, March 22, 2021
A family excursion at the San Diego Zoo took a scary turn when a father carried his 2-year-old daughter into the elephant enclosure. After one of the elephants charged at the man, he fell down and dropped the toddler as he scrambled to get her to safety, video of the incident shows.
Authorities say the little girl was unhurt and returned to the custody of her mom. The dad was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, the Associated Press reported.
To get to the elephants, you’d have to climb over a waist-high barrier and through a wire fence. The elephant who charged the dad is named Shaba, who’s over 40 years old.
“That man and his child were extremely, extremely lucky,” wildlife expert Catherine Doyle told Inside Edition.
Doyle believes Shaba was just trying to scare off the dad when she charged.
“She was very close to them, and I do believe she could have grabbed them easily with her trunk, especially when he fell. Really, if she had wanted to she could have easily killed him. Easily.”
The father is due in court March 30.