A mother dropped her 3-year-old daughter into a bear enclosure as other visitors watched in horror.
Surveillance footage shows parkgoers in shock as the woman, who was holding her daughter over the railings, lets go of the helpless child into the brown bear’s den.
The incident happened at a zoo in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Zookeepers rushed to lure the beast into an indoor area of the den so that other staff could rescue the little girl, with one picking up the child in his arms and taking her away.
The girl’s mother was detained and faces a criminal case for attempted murder, according to reports. If convicted, she faces 15 years in prison.
The child is now receiving treatment for cuts and head injury from the fall.
A spokeswoman for the zoo said: “A young woman threw a little girl down into a brown bear’s enclosure, in front of all the visitors. It was completely unclear what her motive was.
“Both the visitors and the staff of the zoo were trying to stop her – but failed.
“We are scared to even think how this would end if the bear were to react at the toddler as its prey.
“Zuzu, a male Caucasian Brown Bear, was watching the woman, who threw the little one over a metal fence. She fell into a trench under the fence.”
The spokeswoman added: “Zuzu got slowly stood up, slowly got down the trench, walked towards the girl, sniffed her – and walked back.”
The girl reportedly suffered a concussion, bruising and head cuts from the fall “but not a single trace of wounds from the bear’s fangs or claw.’
“Currently her state is normal, but she remains under constant observation,” a spokesman said.
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