There is a reason why the lion is considered the king of the jungle. It’s long and lustrous mane and majestic attitude is enough to intimidate every species near. Although the lioness is the primary hunter, a lion’s natural instinct be it in the wild or in captivity is to protect its pride. An adult lion can weigh upwards of 420 pounds.
In December 2015, the lion was listed as an endangered species due to declining numbers. This is in part as a consequence to hunting for sport, loss of habitat, and retaliatory killings for livestock loss. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe gave a grim warning a year earlier, highlighting that if nothing was done to protect the African lion in particular, it would be extinct by the year 2050.
The Santiago Metropolitan Zoo was forced to kill two of its lions.
The zoo was full with families and children watching the lion enclosure.
But witnesses were shocked when a 20-year-old man jumped over the fence.
He disrobed and got in the middle of a lion and lioness.
Shocked onlookers recall the man taunting the animals.
One of the lions pounced on the man and began to “play” with him.
Alejandra Montalva, director of the zoo said the man paid for his ticket.
“Later he trespassed into an area where the public are not normally allowed and we understand that he forced the roof of the lion’s enclosure,” Montalva says. “It was from there that he jumped, took off his clothes and started to attract the lions.”
The staff at the zoo jumped into action and shot two of the lions.
“Due to the circumstances and to firstly protect the life of this person, we found ourselves obliged to apply all of our security protocols,” the zoo’s released statement read.
Animal conservationists are concerned the lions were not shot with tranquilizers as a first option.
Zoo officials argued that the tranquilizers take too long to take effect and the man’s life was in immediate danger.
Local reports from Chile say the man signed the note as “Jesus,” claiming God would protect him.
The man’s name was later revealed by authorities as Franco Luis Ferrada Roman.
Dr. Sebastian Ugarde from the Indisa Clinic said Ferrara Roman suffered trauma to the head and pelvic area.
Ugarde said the man’s heart almost stopped at one point.