Published on : Monday, May 23, 2016
A 20 year old man climbed into a lion enclosure, stripped unclad and provoked the animal into mauling him. The zookeepers tried to shoot the big cats with tranquiliser dart to save the man from a near-fatal mauling.
The visitors of the Santiago Zoo in Chile, where this incident took place, watched aghast as staff eventually shot and killed two of the lions with live ammunition.
The man who has been identified as Franco Luis Ferrada Roman was rescued and rushed to the hospital where he is still kept under observation. His face and pelvis has been severely injured and nothing could be assured by the doctors before 24 hours.
The man was a visitor to the park who trespassed into an area of the zoo where the public are not normally allowed. He climbed atop the roof of the lion pen, and then forced his way into the cage. According to the other visitors, the lions initially ignored the intrusion but attacked after Ferrada taunted them.
Zookeepers responded at first by turning a hose on the animals, then by firing a tranquiliser dart but it missed and hit the man in the neck instead of the lions. After this, the lions set upon the man when a zookeeper opened fire with live rounds.
The two animals died in front of a horrified and massive holiday crowd.
Ferrada was rescued and taken in critical condition to a local health clinic with injuries to his pelvis and head, as well as a massive dose of tranquiliser.
According to Gerson Sepúlveda, subcommisioner of the investigative police’s crime division, confirmed that Ferrada had left a letter which seems to be a a suicide note. It will be compared to the other writing samples.
The zoo director, Alejandra Montalva, defended the actions of staff who said that the alarms sounded and chemical control arrived [tranquiliser darts] and an independent shooter arrived. In order to save the life of the man, the shooter decided to kill the two lions.
Chilean social media has been taken by storm and the news went viral where people spoke fiercely and criticised against zoo authorities. Reactions ranged from boycotting all zoos, to questions about the use of deadly force.
Dozens of people arrived at the zoo on Saturday night to hold a candlelight vigil for the dead lions.