Santiago: A moment of emergency turned fatal for two lions in a zoo located in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
The ferocious cats were shot and killed by the zoo staff after a man jumped into the lion enclosure in a bid to commit suicide. He even had a suicide note in his pocket.
According to reports, Franco Luis Ferrada, the man in question, climbed up on the roof of the lion's pen and forced his way inside the cage.
Once in, he stripped naked in order to make the lions attack him. The lions ignored him at first, but Ferrada started taunting them.
The crowd around the lion's closure watched aghast as the zoo staff, in order to save the man, first turned on the hose on the animals and then fired tranquilizer shots. However, the shots missed the lions and hit Ferrada on the neck instead, making him an easy prey.
As the lions gained upon the man, the staff was compelled to open fire with live rounds and kill the big cats.
The crowd watched, horrified, as the lions slowly succumbed to the shots. Ferrada, on the other hand, was rushed in critical condition to a nearby local health clinic with injuries to his pelvis and head, as well as a massive dose of tranquiliser.
According to the Guardian, Alejandra Montalva, the zoo director, defended the actions of staff. “The alarms sounded and chemical control arrived [tranquiliser darts] and an independent shooter arrived. The shooter decided to save the life of the person and unfortunately we had to sacrifice two members of our family,” she said.
Dozens of people arrived at the zoo on Saturday night to hold a candlelight vigil for the dead lions. The doctors taking care of Ferrada, meanwhile, were positive about his survival, however, the next 24 hours would be critical, they said.
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(Video courtesy: YouTube News)