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Woman climbs into lion enclosure and taunts animal

Onlookers thought woman dancing was part of exhibit, before realising extent of danger she was in

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 02 October 2019 15:19 BST
The woman waved both hands at the lion and also danced during her time in the enclosure
The woman waved both hands at the lion and also danced during her time in the enclosure (Screengrab/instagram)

A woman who climbed into a lion enclosure and taunted a large male lion at a zoo in New York put herself “in serious danger”, the zoo has said.

A video posted to Instagram shows the bemused-looking lion regarding the woman as she waves her hands and dances at it.

The woman does not appear to be frightened of the animal, even when it furtively steps nearer to her. Onlookers sound remarkably calm in the audio, despite the imminent life-threatening danger the woman is in.

It is not clear how the woman accessed the lion enclosure on Saturday, or why she decided to do so, though NBC News suggested she may have been trying to take a selfie with the animal – however, no phone or camera is visible in the videos of the incident.

The man who filmed the video, Hernán Reynoso, told WNBC TV at first he thought the woman and her dancing were all part of some kind of exhibit.

But he quickly realised that was not the case.

“But when I see ... she just was there, dancing, saying, ‘Hi,’ to the lion and everything and that was crazy,” Mr Reynoso said.

He reportedly stopped recording the incident when the lion roared, prompting him to pick up his young son and leave the area.

“It’s not a good example, especially for the kids,” Mr Reynoso added.

In a statement the zoo said: “This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death.

“Barriers and rules are in place to keep both visitors, staff and animals safe. We have a zero tolerance policy on trespass and violation of barriers.”

The Bronx Zoo filed a complaint for criminal trespass, the New York Police Department told CNN, but no arrests have been made.

Neither the woman nor the lion were injured.

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