Jose Manuel Navarrete, 25, entered the San Diego Zoo elephant enclosure with his daughter on Friday, posing for pictures and video before fleeing as an elephant charged at them.
Video shows the entire incident, including when Navarrete appears to drop his daughter while fleeing from the elephant.
Navarrete is facing a felony charge of child cruelty, including possible injury or death, and is being held on $100,000 bail as of Monday morning.
He is scheduled for arraignment on March 30 at 8 a.m., with no projected release, according to county jail records.
Navarrete “purposely and illegally trespassed” into the habitat, zoo spokesman Andrew James said in a press release.
Police said he “wanted to take a photo with the African bull elephant,” and seemed to upset the animal.
Fox News reached out to San Diego police for further statement, which is pending.
The elephant, Chaba, was taken from the wild as a baby, according to Catherine Doyle, director of science, research and advocacy with the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
“She was responding the way really an elephant would to an intruder,” Doyle told KTVB 7. “It looked to me like it was a mock charge, which is really intended to scare off an intruder. However, if Chaba thought her message wasn’t getting through, it could’ve turned into a more serious attack.”
Navarrete’s daughter went home with her mother following the arrest. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
No one was harmed during the incident, and police are investigating whether drugs or alcohol played a role.