A fun day at the zoo for a group of visitors in Jamaica turned into a horrific ordeal as they ended up witnessing a lion going rogue on a person who appeared to be a zookeeper. A video of the incident, which has since gone viral, drew flak on social media with many questioning the treatment met out to animals at the facility.
The video shows an African lion roaring in its enclosure as the man keeps teasing the wild cat by putting his hands through the iron mesh to pet or tickle him. The animal, which appears to be irked, is heard roaring in protest and even trying to hold the man’s finger as visitors record the event on their mobile phones.
Quickly, things go awry as the beast manages to bite the man’s finger. While the man screams and is seen using all his might to get the animal to let go of his hand, the lion refuses to do so. After struggling for a bit, the lion finally lets go and the man falls to the ground.
[Disclaimer: Disturbing visual, viewers’ discretion is advised]
Watch the moment here:
according to jamaicaobserver.com, the incident happened at Jamaica Zoo on Friday and the man’s finger was severed by a lion at the attraction based in St Elizabeth. The incident occurred late in the afternoon and was witnessed by more than 15 guests.
One of the visitors who witnessed the incident said it happened as the tour of the zoo was coming to an end when the man, in an apparent effort to impress the visitors, attempted to pet the lion. However, it is only driven the wild animal.
“When it happened, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think it was serious. I didn’t realize the seriousness of it, because it’s their job to put on a show,” she said, adding everyone started panicking after he fell to the ground.
As the short clip got shared widely, many slammed the man for being irresponsible and reckless. Others dubbed his actions “idiotic” and said “he got what he deserved”.
As criticism grew louder, the zoo issued a statement with its management assuring everyone that the zoo is a safe place for everyone. They explained that the man in the video was a “contractor” and clarified that the clip does not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at the facility at all times.
Calling the incident “tragic”, the zoo said they “are doing everything to assist the gentleman moving forward.”