Sunday 23 July 2017

Zoo shoots two lions as man jumps into cage in suicide bid

Zookeepers killed the two lions in order to save the man's life. File photo
Zookeepers killed the two lions in order to save the man's life. File photo

James Rothwell in Chile

Zookeepers in Chile were forced to kill two lions after a man forced himself into their cage and stripped naked in an apparent suicide attempt.

Visitors to the Metropolitan Zoo looked on in horror as staff resorted to using live ammunition when their tranquiliser dart missed the lions and instead hit the intruder. The man, named locally as Franco Luis Ferrada Roman, was carrying a suicide note when he was rescued from the enclosure, local officials said.

The 20-year-old had climbed on top of the pen on Saturday morning before forcing himself into the cage. He then taunted the lions into attacking him.

Zookeepers initially sprayed the lions with a hose as they mauled the intruder and then tried to sedate them with the tranquiliser dart. But the dart instead hit Mr Ferrada Roman's neck, forcing the keepers to shoot the lions in full view of a huge crowd of onlookers.

Mr Ferrada Roman was last night said to be in a "grave" condition, having suffered severe pelvis and head injuries as well as an overdose from tranquilisers.

Alejandra Montalba, the head of the Metropolitan Zoo, rebuffed claims that it had acted too slowly and said there were no fast-acting tranquilisers available in time.

She said her staff had been "deeply affected" by the deaths of the male and female lions. "These were lions that had been with us for more than 20 years," she said.

Irish Independent

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