SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Zoo Miami’s wildlife expert said an encounter between a lion and passengers in a golf cart during a safari in Eastern Europe shows what not to do in such a situation.
Ron Magill said Taigon Safari Park, located in Vilnohirsk, Crimea, puts their guests’ lives in danger by exposing them to one of nature’s most powerful animals so closely.
“That lion could have grabbed one person by the neck, just almost in plain, and snapped their neck,” he said.
Video of the encounter, which has since gone viral, shows a full-grown lion climbing on board of the golf cart at the safari park, located just south of the Ukraine. The predator is seen climbing on board behind the driver and pushing him out of the seat as he stretches out.
Moments later, passengers are seen reaching forward to pet the animal.
Once the lion got pushed out of the car, he is seen carrying on his cuddling rampage, climbing back on board and walking over passengers while trying to lick some of them.
Despite what may look like a good time, Magill indicated the encounter is actually beyond inappropriate.
“People looking at this video are going to think, ‘That’s cute, that’s wonderful, how exciting,'” he said. “That is at the very best irresponsible, at the worst negligent, even criminal, in my opinion.”
Rather than fleeing in fear, those on board the golf cart whipped out their cellphones to take photos and record the encounter.
Taigon Safari Park is known for how close it gets its guests to the large felines, and the results are not always so lovable. A woman was injured by a different lion at the same park just weeks ago.
“This video is insanity,” said Magill. “It’s a horrible example of being irresponsible with wildlife.”
Magill said something like this encounter would be illegal here in the U.S.
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