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Chile zoo kills lions to protect naked suicidal man

Security protocols kicked in immediately when staff saw the man climb down with a rope into the African lions’ enclosure and take off his clothes

Published: Updated:

A zoo in Chile’s capital said it had to kill two lions on Saturday to protect a naked suicidal man who had entered their cage.

Security protocols kicked in immediately when staff saw the man climb down with a rope into the African lions’ enclosure and take off his clothes – in the full view of visitors. Photos of the incident were obtained by Chilean network Noticias Chilevision.

The carnivorous felines, a male and a female, instinctively attacked and had to be put down. Anesthetic darts would not have stopped the attack in time, the Santiago Zoo chief Alejandra Montalva told television network TVN.

The 20-year-old man broke into the enclosure, took off his clothes and jumped into the middle, horrifying visitors.

“The zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us,” Montalva said.

“We’re shaken by this because the animals in the zoo are part of our family,” she added.

“These were lions that had been with us for more than 20 years.”

The man was taken to a hospital with critical injuries.

An apparent suicide note was found in the man’s clothing, said Metropolitan Park director Mauricio Fabry. A witness reported he also made religious proclamations.

(With the Associated Press and AFP)