Wild animals are not as friendly as they seem in "The Lion King."
It’s important to remember that those barriers they put up in zoos are there for a very good reason, and a video from Audubon Zoo in New Orleans demonstrates exactly why.
According to the Huffington Post, a little boy was just sitting in front of a lion enclosure at the zoo over the weekend, not even facing it or touching the glass barrier, when a lioness seemed keen on trying to pounce on the boy.
Luckily, the glass barrier is strong enough to prevent the animal from breaking through, and the boy was not alarmed by the close encounter. In the video, he can be seen sitting on the floor as the three-year-old lioness, Zuri, is seen creeping in the grass and then swatting at the barrier.
The people around the boy seem unbothered by the lioness’ behavior. In fact, a woman even brings a toddler into the frame to take a picture with Zuri, who continues to intensely swipe at the barrier.
Joel Hamilton, the zoo's vice president, and general curator told the New Orleans Advocate that the family did nothing to provoke the animal and that Zuri’s behavior is something “officials would rather not see.” According to the zoo’s website, Zuri is described as “playful” and likes to “people watch,” so it seems like this incident might be out of character for the lioness.
Provoking a zoo animal can not only cause harm to a visitor but can also potentially injure the animal as well, according to Hamilton. He warned that guest should never tap on the glass, throw anything into exhibits, including food, or taunt the animals.
A potential photo or a viral video is simply not a good reason for putting yourself (or animals) at risk.