A man stripped naked and then jumped into the lion enclosure at a Chilean zoo on Saturday morning. Crowds of shocked parents and children at Santiago’s Metropolitan Zoo watched in horror as the man was mauled by the lions. Luis Ferrada taunted the big cats into attacking him and would have been killed if zookeepers didn’t intervene by shooting two of the lions dead, one female and one male. The bizarre behavior is believed to be a suicide attempt by the 20-year-old man. The man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and was said to be in a critical condition, but is expected to live.
The zoo does not have fast-acting tranquilizers, so they were forced to shoot and kill the lions. “The zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us,” Zoo Director Alejandra Montalba told the AP.
According to Metropolitan Park director Mauricio Fabry, they believe they discovered a suicide note in the man’s clothing. Witnesses said the man was shouting religious things about Jesus as he was mauled by the lions.
Warning: The images are graphic.
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