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Dad Arrested For Endangering His Toddler By Hopping Fence Into Zoo's Elephant Enclosure For A Selfie

CBS 8 San Diego/YouTube

"But first, let me take a selfie" seems like a harmless enough idea.

It can be a little awkward to pause what you're doing just to hold out your phone and take a picture, but it's harmless, right?

But then someone had to go and ruin it for the rest of us.

The latest offender is a 25-year-old father, Jose Manuel Navarrete, who thought it would be a good idea to take a selfie alongside his two-year-old daughter next to a bull elephant... from inside the elephant's enclosure at the San Diego Zoo.

Of course, just as any of us would expect, this was not a good idea.

One concerned onlooker began filming the incident shortly after the father and daughter had bypassed several barriers and then climbed through the enclosure's fence. The videographer managed to film the incident starting with the father's attempt to take a selfie.

You can watch the video here:

youtu.be

As Navarette held up his phone to take a selfie of himself and his daughter, who he was holding in one arm, an angered bull elephant charged up behind them while it trumpeted.

It's difficult to see in the video, but as Navarette hurried back to the enclosure fence, he bent to dive back through it. As he did so, he dropped his two-year-old daughter on the ground in the path of the multi-ton mammal charging toward them.

The African bull elephant stands up to 10 feet at the shoulder and can weigh from 3-6 tons depending on the variety. The elephant charged the fence as Navarette reached back through the fence to pick his daughter up.

Twitter couldn't believe he thought this was a good idea.






Several onlookers warned Navarette they thought the elephant would charge and it was dangerous, but he entered the enclosure anyway.

Lori Ortale, a witness on the scene, recalled:

"[I heard a woman yelling,] 'Jose, stop,' [before he entered the enclosure.]"
"These guys right away were saying, 'That elephant is going to charge,' and it did."
"[After they escaped,] the baby starts crying, and the people were just mad at this guy."

Navarette was arrested almost immediately after climbing out of the enclosure. He was placed in jail with a bail of $100,000 while the prospect of child endangerment and child cruelty charges were explored.

Navarette is expected to appear in court on March 30 after the investigation has been completed and final charges are filed.