Woman enters exhibit, elephant smacks her
WACO, Texas (AP) -- A 25-year-old woman climbed past barriers and into an elephant's zoo exhibit, then crawled out with minor injuries after the 6,000-pound animal smacked her with its trunk.
"That's how an elephant reacts to something they would perceive as a threat," said Cameron Park Zoo director Jim Fleshman.
After saying she wanted to play with the elephant, the woman climbed over a 3-feet-high wood-and-wire fence, scaled an 8-foot-tall artificial rock structure and bypassed an electric wire before jumping into the exhibit Thursday afternoon, Fleshman said. A moat extends around most of the exhibit.
After the woman got out, fire and emergency crews took her to a hospital with minor injuries, including scrapes on her side and arm. Waco Fire Capt. Greg Kistler said the woman, whose name was not released, was visiting the zoo with a child and another woman.
The exhibit contains two female African elephants that have been at the zoo at least nine years. Only one of the elephants struck the woman.
Both animals were stressed after the incident and were moved to a private area for part of the afternoon, and one didn't want to return to the exhibit even later in the day. But both were back for visitors to see Friday, Fleshman said.
"They're not used to somebody being in their space," he said.