RABAT, Morocco, A seven-year-old girl has died in a freak accident after a rock flung by an elephant hit the girl in the head at a Moroccan zoo.
The elephant was able to hurl the rock past the ditch that separates the visitors from the animals and past the fence of the enclosure at Rabat Zoo, striking the girl, who later died at a local hospital.
The zoo, in a statement, defended the elephant, saying “this kind of accident is rare, unpredictable and unusual.”
Phyllis Lee, Scientific Director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, said the likelihood of the elephant targeting the girl or her family is extremely low and probably a simple act of frustration.
“It can happen when elephants are frustrated or bored,” she said. “You can’t predict what animals in captivity will do.”
A video taken moments after the girl was struck shows her on the ground being treated by staff a few feet from the rock that killed her.