Tragedy struck on Tuesday, July 27th at the Rabat-Temara Zoological Park, Morroco when a 7-year-old girl was killed untimely by an elephant in one of the enclosures.
The little girl died after an elephant at the Rabat-Temara Zoo accidentally threw a stone at her. Witnesses said the elephant threw a large stone into the air after picking it up with its trunk, striking the girl on the back of her head. She was knocked unconscious and died in a nearby hospital from the injuries sustained.
The girl was visiting the zoo with her parents, and even took a photo with her father outside the pen of the zoo’s three elephants. According to local reports, the girl’s father had lifted her up on his shoulders to pose for the photograph.
Witnesses claimed an ambulance took too long to arrive, blaming the zoo for not having its own medical station. A mobile phone footage taken by a bystander showed the victim’s stunned family gathered around her as zoo personnel tended to her on the ground.
Confirming the incident on their Twitter page, the Zoo authorities said; “It is with great sadness that we announce the accidental death of a little girl victim of a stone throw launched by an elephant.”
A spokesman for the zoo was quoted as saying that there had been no security breaches, and the girl had not crossed into a protective area outside the enclosure. He adds that accidents of this type are rare, unforeseeable and unusual.
An investigation has been opened in regards to the incident.
This is the first time an accident of this magnitude has occurred in the zoo’s 4-year history. The Rabat-Temara Zoo which officially opened in January 2012 boasts of housing 130 species of animals in simulated mountain, desert and rain forest habitats.