Father arrested after allegedly carrying 2-year-old daughter into elephant exhibit at San Diego Zoo

Jose Navarrete is being held on $100,000 bail for child cruelty charges.

March 20, 2021, 1:12 PM

A father was arrested after he allegedly trespassed into the San Diego Zoo's elephant exhibit while carrying his 2-year-old daughter.

Jose Navarrete, 25, carried his daughter through two fences, one of which is electrified, into the elephant enclosure at the zoo around 4 p.m. Friday, police said.

The elephants in the enclosure became upset when the two entered their space, police said to local San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV.

PHOTO: An elephant stands in an animal habitat in the San Diego Zoo after a man breached the enclosure while carrying a child on March 19, 2021.
An elephant stands in an animal habitat in the San Diego Zoo after a man breached the enclosure while carrying a child on March 19, 2021.
KGTV
PHOTO: An elephant stands in an animal habitat in the San Diego Zoo after a man breached the enclosure while carrying a child on March 19, 2021.
An elephant stands in an animal habitat in the San Diego Zoo after a man breached the enclosure while carrying a child on March 19, 2021.
KGTV

Seeing the animals react, Navarrete fled the exhibit with his daughter and dropped her as he made his way out, police said.

The San Diego Zoo said in a statement to ABC News that two people "purposely and illegally trespassed into a habitat, which is home to our Asian and African elephants."

The zoo's security team responded to the incident but the people had already exited the habitat by the time they arrived, the zoo said.

PHOTO: Jose Navarette is taken into police custody after an incident where he is accused of breaching the enclosure of an elephant habitat while carring a child at the San Diego Zoo, Calif., March 20, 2021.
Jose Navarette is taken into police custody after an incident where he is accused of breaching the enclosure of an elephant habitat while carring a child at the San Diego Zoo, Calif., March 20, 2021.
KGTV

Navarette was arrested and is being held on $100,000 bail for child cruelty charges, according to jail records. It is unclear if he has retained legal representation at this time.

Zoo officials said the elephants, Navarrete and his daughter were not injured in the incident.

ABC News' Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this report.

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