A man was mauled to death by lions after jumping into an exhibit, all while a group of terrified zoo visitors looked on.
The incident took place at the Chhatbir Zoo in Mohali, India, this week. As the Independent reported, an unnamed man in his 20s was seen attempting to scale the wall of the lion enclosure, prompting zoo staff to yell at him to stop. The man reportedly ignored their pleas and jumped inside, where a male and female lion spotted the man immediately and attacked him.
Zoo officials said the female lion saw the man as prey.
“Lionesses have a very curious nature and [lioness] Shilpa saw something falling from a great height inside their territory,” Punjab wildlife chief Dr. Kuldeep Kumar told the Hindustan Times. “She rushed to take a look and found her prey. She instantly attacked the man, caught hold of his neck and then dragged him along.”
The man was inside the lion enclosure for approximately 10 minutes before specialized zoo staff were able to enter and extract his body. By that point, the man had suffered grievous injuries and was declared dead after being rushed to the hospital.
This is not the first time that a deadly animal attack in India has attracted worldwide attention. Last year, a man returning home from his wedding saw a wounded bear and tried to approach the animal to take a selfie, but instead the animal attacked and he was mauled to death while his terrified friends watched from a distance. Reports indicated that the friends tried to talk the man out of the dangerous selfie, but he was insistent.
He is not the only one to die from a dangerous animal selfie. In 2017, the dating app Tinder had to ban the use of selfies with a live tiger, which were popular especially in Asian countries. As the animal rights organization PETA noted, these selfies led to mistreatment of animals and posed a danger for people trying to take them, leading to attacks and even deaths.
Zoo staff in India said they were not able to identify the man mauled to death by lions after jumping into their enclosure because he had no form of identification on him. They are working on finding a way to identify him so they can notify his next of kin. They have placed an ad in local newspapers asking anyone who might know the man to come forward.