updated 8/19/2010 12:13:28 PM ET 2010-08-19T16:13:28

A Dutch man braved an angry bear to save his three-year-old daughter after the girl climbed a fence in a German zoo and tumbled into the animal's pen, police said Thursday.

Both father and daughter needed to be hospitalized, but their wounds were not life-threatening, police in Trier said.

The incident occurred when the 34-year-old man, his wife and their two children were visiting the Luenebach zoo in southwest Germany on Wednesday afternoon.

While her parents were not watching, the girl scrambled over the approximately 3-foot high fence and fell into a moat, police said.

Though her father climbed after her quickly, the 28-year-old Asiatic black bear had already hit the girl's forehead, injuring her, police said in a statement.

Injured, but alive
The father succeeded in saving his daughter and escaping, but not before the bear injured his leg, according to police, who did not release the names of the people involved.

Other visitors who were watching the "dramatic situation" called the rescue squad and the girl was flown to a hospital in Trier, police said. The father was also hospitalized.

Police said they were investigating possible negligence by the parents or the zoo.

Zoo officials said everything will be done to find out what exactly happened.

"We are all shocked," Isabelle Wallpott, whose family owns the zoo, told The Associated Press. "In any case, we will take additional precautions to prevent such a thing from happening again."

Beyond that, she said she could not give any more details.

The private zoo, which features monkeys, kangaroos, tigers, lions and other wild animals, opened 38 years ago.

On its website, it says visitors will encounter "animals close up" and will live through "fascinating moments."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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