Video: 7 years old girl dies after being struck by a rock thrown by an elephant

An unidentified 7-year-old girl, who was perched on her father’s shoulders posing for a photo with the elephants behind them, was struck in the back of the head by a rock thrown by one of the elephants Tuesday at the Rabat Zoo in Morocco.

The unconscious girl, shown in graphic video bleeding profusely from her head, died from the injury a few hours later at a nearby hospital, according to the BBC, The Guardian and the Daily Mail.

A female elephant named Assia used its trunk to pick up the rock, described as about half the size of a brick, and tossed it over the enclosure’s fence.

Phyllis Lee, scientific director for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told the BBC that elephants throwing stones or branches at a target is “very unusual.”

“It can happen when elephants are frustrated or bored,” Lee told the BBC. “In my opinion, it’s unlikely the elephant was directly targeting the girl, but exhibiting frustration. You can’t predict what animals in captivity will do.”

The Morocco World News reported that the “Rabat Zoo has denied responsibility” for the girl’s death.
“Accidents of this type are rare, unforeseeable, and unusual,” the zoo said in its official statement. “Accidents of this nature happened in international zoos, most recently in Disney World Orlando and the Cincinnati Zoo in the United States.”

The zoo also stated that the guardrails and ditches that separate animals and visitors “meet the required international standards.” The zoo offered condolences to the family.

A zoo visitor going by Jadid24/7 on YouTube posted video of the aftermath, saying on his video that more than five minutes had passed and an ambulance had still not arrived, according to the Morocco World News.
“Primarily responsible for this tragedy is the director of the Rabat Zoo,” a commenter on the video said. “How is it possible that the place receives a large number of visitors but there is no ambulance station?”
The Daily Mail wrote that “social media users said the ambulance took ages to arrive and said the zoo should have its own ambulance station.”
The incident, which occurred around 1 p.m. local time, was the first of its kind since the zoo opened in 2012.

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