SAN DIEGO (CBS13) – A selfie attempt at the San Diego Zoo nearly cost a man and his young daughter their lives.

The man even dropped his toddler as he tried to escape the path of an angry elephant.

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Spectators at the zoo watched as Jose Navarette, 25, entered the elephant habitat while carrying his 2-year-old daughter. When an elephant suddenly rushed towards him, Navarette scrambled to get out. At one point, he dropped the girl and had to rush back to grab her before it was too late.

“It’s an extremely dangerous situation, and no one in their right mind should ever think about doing this,” said PAWS Director of Science Catherine Doyle.

Doyle says the elephant was protecting its space.

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“The elephant you saw, I believe, is Chaba. She was responding the way really as an elephant would to an intruder. It looked to me like it was a mock charge, which is really intended to scare off an intruder; however, if Chaba thought her message wasn’t getting through, it could’ve turned into a more serious attack.”

Navarette reportedly told police he wanted to get a selfie with the elephant. He was arrested and charged with child endangerment.

Police say that after Navarrete’s arrest, the child went home with her mother.


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