Two lions of the Santiago National Zoo in Chile were shot dead after mauling a naked man who jumped into their enclosure in what appears to be a suicide attempt.
Twenty-year-old Franco Luis Ferrada, named by local media, reportedly jumped onto the rooftop of the lion enclosure and forced himself in their den. He then stripped himself of his clothes and taunted the lions, who ended up doing what lions do and mauled him. In a sea of onlookers, a zookeeper tried to fire a tranquilizer dart at the lions but instead they accidentally hit Ferrada in the neck.
Seeing no other way to help the deranged man, the zookeepers opened fire on the two attacking lions and killed them on the spot. Ferrada was then rescued from the lion den and taken to a nearby hospital for wounds sustained to his pelvis and head.
According to Chilean publication La Nación, a suicide note was found in Ferrada’s clothes. In a Facebook statement posted by the zoo, officials said, “We were forced to implement all our security protocols. [The death of the lions] is deeply painful for each of us and especially for every one of the officials of the zoo, who care for them day by day.”
“Despite the pain which led to this action, it was necessary to preserve the life of the individual, [who] was removed from the premises and taken to a clinic to receive the appropriate care, where he remains at the moment.”
“We want to clarify that the halls of our zoo are absolutely safe for our regular visitors and that, in cases like this, in which a person violates the security protocols of the enclosure, are absolutely out of the ordinary.”
Chilean police described Ferrada as a “frustrated man” and an investigation has been launched.