Families visiting the Santiago Zoo in Chile were horrified as zookeepers were forced to kill two African lions after a naked man jumped into the animal’s pen in an apparent suicide attempt.
The man, identified as 20 year old Franco Luis Ferrada Roman, was making religious statements and talking about Jesus as he stripped naked in front of onlookers and jumped into the pen.
An apparent suicide note mentioning the end of the world was found in his clothing.
Witnesses say zookeepers were relatively slow to act and the man had several long moments with the big cats before officials took any action.
Zoo officials say there were no fast acting tranquilizer guns available and using lethal force was the only option they had for saving the man’s life.
After the lions were shot, Roman was recovered from the pen. He was described as being in grave condition and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Despite his serious injuries, doctors are hopeful that he will be able to make a full recovery.
It is unclear what, if any, criminal charges the man will face. He could also face civil penalties for his actions resulting in the deaths of the two lions.
Zoo director, Alejandra Montalva, said, “We believe that this person entered as a visitor and paid for his ticket.
“Later he trespassed into an area where the public are not normally allowed and we understand that he forced the roof of the lion’s enclosure.
“It was from there that he jumped, took off his clothes and started to attract the lions.”
“The zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us,” she continued.