Man ended up losing his ring finger entirely.
A zookeeper in Jamaica recently had his finger ripped off by a lion after he poked his hand through the bars of its cage. Viral footage has captured the horrifying moment in which the man can be seen desperately trying to pull his hand away, while the lion continues to hold on.
The clip shows an attendant at Jamaica Zoo sticking his finger into the chain-linked cage in front of around 15 visitors. He tries to touch the lion as if he were playing with a cat. The zookeeper ignores the animal's snarling and continues to play with and tease the lion. However, seconds into the clip, one can see the dangerous animal striking and clamping its jaws around the man's finger.
The man ended up losing his ring finger entirely. Speaking to Jamaica Observer, an eyewitness said that the zookeeper was showing off to onlookers when it all went horribly wrong. “When it happened, I thought it was a joke,” the woman said, adding, “I didn't realise the seriousness of it, because it's their job to put on a show.”
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However, she went on to say that when the man fell to the ground everybody realised that it was serious. The woman further explained that the entire skin and about the first joint of the zookeeper's finger were gone.
Now, the incident has sparked concern for the lion's welfare and treatment by the staff. Jamaica Observer reported that the managing director at the Jamaica Society for the Preventional of Cruelty to Animals, Pamela Lawson, has said that the incident would be investigated.
Separately, in a statement, Jamaica Zoo assured that the zoo is a safe place to be for both people and animals. It explained that the actions displayed in the video are of a “contractor” of Jamaica Zoo. Calling the incident “tragic”, the statement stated that the clip does not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times.
The zoo added, "It is an unfortunate event that should never have happened, and we - the family of Jamaica Zoo - are doing everything to assist the gentleman moving forward."
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Currently, Jamaica Zoo is investigating the incident in order to prevent similar injuries from occurring in the future.
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