A lion at a Jamaican zoo bit off a zookeeper's finger in front of horrified visitors on Friday.Video footage of the incident has now gone viral on social media.
The incident took place at the Jamaica Zoo in St Elizabeth, Jamaica Observer reported.
Zookeeper was Trying to Put on a Show for Visitors
The clip, shared on Twitter, shows the zookeeper putting his hand inside the lion's enclosure through the chain-linked cage, reportedly in an effort to put on a show for visitors.
The zookeeper attempts to pet the wild animal. However, the ill-advised stunt goes horribly wrong when the lion clamps down on the man's finger and refused to let go. What ensued what a horrifying tug-of-war which ultimately resulted in the keeper's finger being ripped off. Watch the video below (The clip is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised):
'I Thought it was a Joke'
An eyewitness told local news outlet Jamaica Observer that the lion bit off the top of the man's finger, right up from the first joint.
"When it happened, I thought it was a joke. I didn't think it was serious. I didn't realise the seriousness of it, because it's their job to put on a show," she said.
"Obviously, when he fell on the ground everybody realised that it was serious. Everybody started to panic," she added. The incident took place in front of about 15 zoo visitors, some of whom were filming the scene.
Zoo Releases Says Zookeeper Violated Safety Procedures
The injured zookeeper later got up and walked to a vehicle and left the zoo. In a statement on Sunday, the Jamaica Zoo said it was aware of the incident and was assisting the injured employee.
"The actions displayed in a video by a contractor to Jamaica Zoo are tragic and do not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times at Jamaica Zoo," said the facility in a statement accessed by Loop News.