NEWS AND COMMENT: A zoo attendant was videoed by spectators, who were close by, taunting a lion behind a wire fence. To me, it appears that he was showing off to the female guests. At the time the lion was roaring, appearing to be riled. The lion certainly looks provoked and excited as the man pokes and prods his face through the fence. In fact, the man was recklessly goading the lion in an idiotic, macho way. He paid the price.
Suddenly the lion grips the man’s fingers in his jaws and he starts to swear and panic. He pulls as hard as he can to remove his hand from the jaws. It looks horrible and the female spectators are saying banal things like be careful and so on but clearly that moment has passed because he can’t remove his hand despite using all the force that he can muster. I think his panic and the adrenaline killed the pain at that moment.
The video on YouTube has been pixelated out whereas the one on this website has not. So, beware as it is unpleasant and difficult to watch.
Click the following links to see a still image and the video. I can’t show them here as there are adverts on the page.
The zoo is in Jamaica near Lacovia. We are told that the spectators thought it was a bit of a joke until they realised that he had lost part of his finger. One spectator said: “The entire skin and about the first joint of his finger was gone. I ran away from the whole thing, because me nuh like seeing blood and it was too graphic for me.”
Once the man had released his finger from the lion’s jaw he walked over to a vehicle and then left. It seemed to the spectators that the pain had not registered. They were stunned.
The incident is being looked into by the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals according to Pamela Lawson the managing director.
She has asked whether what happened was acceptable. She is right because this was a zoo attendant larking around with a lion which sets a very bad example to children and others who may have seen it.
Another zoo nearby said that they do not condone this sort of behaviour. They describe it as an abuse of animals for the entertainment of guests.
The Jamaica Zoo said: “The Management and Staff here at Jamaica Zoo wishes to reassure the public that we pride ourselves on the love, care, and professional treatment our animals receive. Similarly with respect to the professional conduct of all team members.”
And they further stated: “The actions displayed in a video by a contractor to Jamaica Zoo, is tragic and do not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times at Jamaica Zoo. We are currently reviewing the video, with a view of preventing any future recurrences. It is an unfortunate event that should never have happened, and we the family of Jamaica Zoo are doing everything to assist the gentleman in moving forward. We do hope you continue to support Jamaica Zoo. We have always been and will continue to be a safe place for you and your family to visit.”
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