Zoos are excellent places to see animals. Their displays rely on a careful balance of allowing visitors to see animals up close and unobstructed while maintaining a safe distance to protect both humans and animals.
It is never a good idea to break the rules and enter an animal’s enclosure, even if the animal is “safe.” Which makes one woman’s decision to jump a fence to meet a lion even more insane.
The Bronx Zoo is home to an African lion den. Visitors can see these majestic animals in a natural but safe setting.
“At this exhibit, there’s low walls, so you want to get close enough to see what’s going on, but you don’t want to have these high fences in front of all the exhibits,” zoo visitor John Rubbo told CBS New York. “It takes the fun out of the zoo.”
However, one visitor took advantage of the low walls and jumped the fence to enter the enclosure, leaving herself vulnerable to the giant jungle cats.
On September 28, the woman posted videos of her stunt to Instagram, apparently proud of her “fearless” stunt.
“It’s funny because you hear Grown Men Scared,” she explained. “The only people who weren’t scared were me and The Children… “I HAVE NO FEAR OF NOTHING BUT BREATHING!!”
But there’s a thin line between brave and stupid, and it was quickly pointed out that jumping into a lion’s den is clearly a bad idea.
“Greetings from Africa,” reads one comment. “You should not be doing that at all. Speaking from personal experience.”
Onlookers can be heard in the videos expressing their concern and attempting to talk her back into safety.
The woman not only remains in the enclosure, but she actively attempts to attract the lion’s attention by waving her arms and approaching him.
The lion, on the other hand, does not attack or even react aggressively. He just looks around (as if asking the other lions, “Are you seeing this?”)
According to her Instagram captions, the woman believes the peaceful encounter was the result of a spiritual understanding between her and the lion. But make no mistake about it: she was in grave danger.
“This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death,” according to a statement from the Bronx Zoo. “There are barriers and rules in place to keep visitors, staff, and animals safe. We have a zero tolerance policy for trespass and barrier violations.”
She not only set a bad example for the children watching, but she also endangered the animal. If the lion had perceived her as a threat and attacked, or even if the woman appeared to be in danger, the lion could have been killed, similar to the contentious shooting of Harambe the gorilla in 2016.
“I hope nothing bad happens to the lion as a result of what she did,” a zoo visitor told CBS.
If you truly care about animals—and your own life—always adhere to zoo regulations and maintain a safe distance.
Please share this incredible story!