At the Taigan Safari Park in Europe, employees encourage visitors to enter their lion enclosure as well as pose in photos with them….
Talk about needing a lion heart!
The park also encourages visitors to pet the lions as well as walk around inside their pen.
The “walk with the lions” experience is only available to guests who fork over extra cash for the special privilege.
With the zoo allowing the risky opportunity, it has surprised many as just last summer, a woman was mauled during a photo op with a lion.
While she posed for photos, the lion clamped down on her arm and dragged her across the enclosure.
Thankfully, the woman did survive the incident but experts are calling the zoo out, urging them to halt the practice for good.
“And the worst part is that these incidents are completely avoidable. Big cats such as lions and tigers should never be used as tourist attractions, particularly in activities where you can pet, feed, swim or play with them.”
A video of Zubkov went viral last year when a fight broke out among the animals.
In the video, Zubkov can be seen smacking one of the big cats with a shoe.
In the past, the park has had difficulty keeping the lions fed and Taigan’s enclosures usually look crowded due to the breeding program.
In addition, the fighting among males for territory is very common.
Lions who share enclosures also fight frequently, and are often seen either growling, snarling and pouncing at one another from behind their fences.
But lions in photos with guests look so calm — they almost look asleep, which means that the animals could be drugged to make them less dangerous to guests.
This is a common practice at similar attractions.
While the animals in the wild are reclusive towards humans, in captivity, they can be put under an enormous amounts of stress due to the constant exposure to people.
“As wild animals, they are dangerous and unpredictable and retain their wild instincts no matter how ‘tame’ they may appear,” Pietsch shared.
But it not just the visitors that are in danger — but the lions themselves.
In many cases where captive animals harm humans — it is common for the animals acting out of instinct to be put down.
“The stressful interactions with people and typically cruel treatment and handling of big cats for public use only exacerbate the problem; this can result in even the tiniest of actions triggering a big cat to lash out, leading to serious and lasting injuries for people, and often death for the animal itself,” Pietsch shared.
The park has gathered a lot of critics — many of whom want the operation shut down entirely.
“Four Paws urges the public to never participate in shows where you can interact with wild animals like tigers, lions, bears, apes, etc.,” Pietsch shared. “Facilities that offer visitors a chance to feed, walk, pet or swim with an animal are in no way beneficial to that animal and pose a serious public safety risk.”
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