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Zookeeper Who Lost A Finger In Lion Attack Criticized For ‘Tormenting’ Animal In Video

Photo: YouTube
Jamaica zookeeper loses finger in lion attack

A video circulating on social media captured the moments a zoo caretaker was attacked by a lion in captivity.

The video was taken by onlookers as the zookeeper attempted to interact with the lion to create a show.

The video shows the lion biting off the zookeeper's finger.

The man, which the Jamaican Zoo's Instagram identifies as a "contractor," was leading a tour for visitors to the zoo. The incident occurred on Friday in front of fifteen people. The contractor wanted to impress visitors, so he attempted to pet the lion. 

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The contractor claps his hands, and the lion takes a swipe at the cage before the man puts his finger into the cage; that's when the lion clamps down on it. 

The man at first seems to be laughing but now notices his situation and tries to get his finger back; the lion refuses to let go, so the man braces his foot against the cage while the lion is attempting to pull back. 

The man finally manages to break loose from the lion's grasp, but he loses a portion of his finger to the lion. 

A visitor to the zoo who asked to remain anonymous told Observer Online, "the entire skin and about the first joint of his finger was gone." 

The attendant was helped up and led to a vehicle before leaving the facility. A representative at the zoo said the incident was not made aware until mid-afternoon on Saturday. A senior police source also said they were not made aware of the incident.

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The zoo's official Instagram posted a statement Sunday regarding the video incident captured Friday.

Pamela Lawson, the managing director at the Jamaican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that she would be going to the zoo to investigate the matter.

"We will be going down there, and I will be communicating with the National Environment and Planning Agency which has oversight of the Jamaican Zoo," she said in a statement. 

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Another incident occurred two years prior at a zoo in Dakar, Senegal when a zookeeper almost had his hand bitten off by a lion. This incident has only resurfaced after this incident has gained social media attention. 

Viewers have criticized the zoo for agitating the lion.

Underneath the zoo's Instagram statement, commenters expressed sympathy for the man while also condemning using animals for entertainment.

"How foolish to torment a wild animal locked behind bars just for [entertainment.]" wrote one user.

"Look like he was agitating the lion. Kept patting his face, trying to get a rise out of him. I pray the man gets better soon. People need to respect animals. Poor lion is already behind bars, and then this man goes and puts his hands in his face," said another.

Others, however, defended the zoo for taking necessary precautions after the attack.

The attacks call into question the problem with keeping lions in captivity.

International movements have pushed for the end of animal captivity.

Lions at your local zoo or in captive facilities can be domesticated, but it takes a lot of time and patience; however, they will still be wild.

Legislation banned animal captivity is becoming increasingly popular.

The South African government pushed a critical decision to ban captive lion facilities in South Africa and half the commercial use of using captive lions and their derivatives back in May of 2021.

Many of these facilities offered canned hunting, lion-petting, and walking experiences.

News of this decision was made public on May 2 when the South African govt released the much-anticipated statement that detailed the future management, breeding, hunting, trading, and the handling of captive lions. 

Historically, many of these captive lion facilities offered tourists opportunities to pet lions, walk with them, and even shoot them in artificial hunting exercises known as canned hunting. 

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Kurtis Condra is a writer who scours the internet looking for entertainment and celebrity news. When he's not searching for news, he likes to write poetry and stories in his spare time. You can see all his poems on his Instagram. 

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