A seven-year-old girl has died after being hit by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at a zoo.1elepThe stone got past the elephant’s fence and a ditch separating the animal and visitors, Rabat Zoo in Morocco said in a statement. The girl was taken to hospital and died within a few hours, the zoo added.

The zoo statement said the enclosure met international standards and said “this kind of accident is rare, unpredictable and unusual”.

Phyllis Lee, Scientific Director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, says that targeted throwing of stones and branches by elephants is very unusual.

“It can happen when elephants are frustrated or bored. 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.”