MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A man climbed over a locked, fenced area of the elephant exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo Wednesday afternoon, April 7.
The Milwaukee County Zoo says it happened around 3:25 p.m. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office cited Armond Bullocks with trespassing.
Officials with the MCSO say the man did it to "impress his daughter."
According to the zoo, Bullocks began to climb over a secondary fence, but did not breach that barrier and never shared space with the zoo's African elephants, who were outside at the time.
“The individual was stopped from going where he really could have gotten hurt," Milwaukee County Zoo Curator of Large Mammals Tim Wild said. So it was handled very quickly, very efficiently.”
Bullocks was detained by a park worker until law enforcement arrived. Zoo staff feared this was a copycat stunt after a man successfully entered an elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo a few weeks ago. Wild said these stunts are not funny. They can be deadly.
“This was our smallest elephant involved, she’s still over 7,000 lbs., close to 8,000 lbs.," Wild said. "There are a number of accounts of people who work with elephants who have been killed or badly injured by them.”
Visitors with knowledge of elephants said they think Bullocks is lucky to be alive.
“I’m glad that they yelled at him in time and that he didn’t make it all the way over the fence," Katie Clements said. "We’ve actually been to Africa, and someone in the village that we were near got trampled by an elephant and died.”
As for the alleged reasoning Bullocks was trying to impress his daughter, other parents said he missed the mark.
“We saw that Harambe story," Brian Lewis said. "We’re not about that at all. We like to be on the outside looking in, and we really like the elephants."
The Milwaukee County Zoo was closed at the time of the incident, and visitors were making their way to the exits.
Authorities say the man had been warned that the area was restricted.