Zoo Lion Attempts Attack On Child, But Is Stopped Only By The Glass Between Them

A zoo lion attempted an attack on a child, but was stopped only by the glass between them.

The incident happened at a zoo in Japan, according to Opposing Views. A video of the incident can be viewed later in the article.

In the video, a lion is seen in his enclosure several feet away from the glass where the child is playfully watching him. The zoo lion crouches down in hunting mode, surveying the perfect opportunity to pounce, much like domestic cats do when they’re using strategy to make that “killer” move on unsuspecting prey or an object.

Finally, the lion charges toward the child in what looks to be an intentional attack. Luckily, the large animal hits the glass. His claws then scrambled the glass as if to find some way in reaching through to grasp the little boy, who had no idea what that the animal was doing because his back was turned. The child appeared startled when he spun around to see the zoo lion right there staring him in the face.

The video posted to YouTube on June 4 has gone viral.

It has been just over a week since Harambe the gorilla was shot and killed after a toddler made his way inside his enclosure. The zoo lion’s attempted attack on this child left people talking about the nature of having wild animals held captive in zoos.

The Dodo wrote that this incident occurred at Japan’s Chiba Zoological Park. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, told the news source that the zoo lion was simply acting on his predatory instincts.

“Lions are natural wild predators and the child in this video, especially when turning his back to the massive feline, becomes prey in the animal’s eyes,” Roberts said. “The firm glass wall held the lion inside his enclosure, surely frustrating his innate instincts. But luckily for the family, if the barrier had not held the consequences could have been catastrophic.”

The Dodo also featured a piece written by child psychiatrist Sujatha Ramakrishna, who authored Raising Kids Who Love Animals. Ramakrishna thinks that the child could be learning the “wrong lesson” in this situation, as well, perpetuating the idea that it’s perfectly fine to contain wild animals for the sole purpose of human amusement. Zoos may be sending the wrong messages and do not accurately depict natural habitats or life as a wild animal.

“Though I hoped to find evidence to the contrary, I must conclude that zoos continue to be detrimental to animal welfare, and that they do not teach children positive lessons about animals,” the psychiatrist writes. “Kids who watch leopards pacing in mindless patterns get a completely inaccurate picture of what large predators are all about. They also learn that making sentient beings suffer for human amusement is acceptable. We want to teach kids to show kindness towards animals, not stare at their misery while eating popcorn.”

Zoos and their place among educating children is under scrutiny in light of Harambe’s death. The western lowland gorilla was shot and killed for reacting to a child who accidentally got inside his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The 17-year-old gorilla had a hold of the boy and at times seemed protective, but other times he was recklessly dragging the 4-year-old around in a moat. Zoo officials had to make a fast decision in order to save the child.

The boy’s parents will not be charged in Harambe’s death. Investigators say they have determined that the parents weren’t negligent and they aren’t pressing criminal charges against them. Additionally, they say the outcome could have been far worse for the toddler had zoo staff not shot the gorilla.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]