We see them as cute and cuddly when they are just a few months old, but according to experts, lions are not safe animals for humans to interact with. Earlier this month, an intern at a lion sanctuary in California was killed when she came in contact with a lion. The same cat was on the Ellen DeGeneres show when it was only a few months old, being fed by DeGeneres from a bottle.
Experts are weighing in on the young woman's death, saying it never should have happened. Despite seeing cuddly lions on TV shows, they say that humans should never have direct contact with these animals except when they are highly sedated, even when they are just young cubs. The lion in this case was shot and killed by law enforcement shortly after the attack.
It is still unclear why the woman may have entered the sanctuary, and if anything may have prompted the animal to attack besides instinct. While this type of attack might seem rare, 22 people have been killed in similar attacks since 1990.
This attack raises a lot of questions about animal sanctuaries. The facility that this animal was kept at always passed inspections and has never had any previous incidents. However, what if a place of employment or a place that the public visits doesn't have proper warnings? While some might debate whether animals can be safely kept in captivity, people who work or visit these facilities should have proper training and safety procedures should be in place.
Source: USA Today, "Lion experts: Intern's death was avoidable," Natalie DiBlasio, March 7, 2013
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