A girl has died after a zoo elephant threw a rock at her – the latest in a series of violent incidents involving interactions between animals and tourists or zoo visitors.
Reports indicate the girl’s father lifted his seven-year-old daughter onto his shoulders to give her a better view of the zoo animals in Rabat, Morocco, when a female elephant picked up a rock half the size of a brick with its trunk.
The animal biffed the stone, striking the girl on the head and knocking her unconscious. The girl died later in hospital.
In April, the former chairman of one of China’s most iconic confectionary brands was killed by a flying rock kicked or thrown by a monkey.
That incident occurred at Yuntai Mountain, a scenic spot in Henan province in central China, home to bands of wild monkeys. Weng Mao, 67, was rushed to a local hospital but died there soon afterwards, the South China Morning Post reported.
In June, a two-year-old boy was seized by an alligator and dragged to his doom on the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon, an artificial lake at a Florida resort near Walt Disney World in Orlando. A month earlier, staff at Cincinnati zoo shot dead a 17-year-old male gorilla after a three-year-old boy entered its enclosure and the animal began to drag the boy around.
About the same time, a zookeeper at Santiago National Zoo in Chile shot dead two lions in front of a horrified crowd of zoo visitors. The zookeeper acted to save the life of a naked man who had forced his way into the animals’ cage in an apparent bid to be killed and eaten. The man is believed to be insane.
While zoos strive to separate people and animals, they are not always successful.
Last year, an endangered white tiger killed a drunk man who leapt into its cage at New Delhi zoo, while in December, an apparently deranged man vaulted into the polar bear pit at Copenhagen Zoo. In the Danish incident, zookeepers fired rubber bullets at the hapless bear so they could rescue the man.
Written by Peter Needham