Sorry folks, but it’s time for some tough love. Stop. Messing. With. Wild. Animals.
For real. We can’t believe we’re publishing yet another story of some random tourist being exceedingly idiotic while on vacation. This time around, a video on YouTube has emerged showing a person attempting to pat a lion from inside the window of a car.
Let’s just say the lion was not impressed.
Shot in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the short flick had more than 1.2 million views at the time of publication. The person’s arm can be seen reaching out the window and trying to pat a male lion, which can grow to 3 meters long (10-feet) and more than 181 kilograms (400 pounds). The animal doesn’t react at first, but after a few seconds bares its teeth and roars. That’s when the man closes his window.
Wildlife Sightings, who published the video, says lions will seek shelter in the shade of vehicles, but “this doesn’t mean that they trust humans.”
“To try to touch [a lion] is incredibly stupid and ignorant of the tourist that filmed the sighting,” they said.
One South African safari ranger told The Sun the lion has the power to tear off a person’s arm or, worse yet, could pull them out of the window and kill them in front of their friends.
“It could also just have easily crashed its way through the open window and torn into those inside. They were lucky to get away with it. They are wild animals,” said Naas Smit, who concluded that park rangers would probably have had to euthanize the lion if it had killed or injured the tourist.
It’s part of a string of incidents where people seem to forget that wild animals are just that: wild. A similar video earlier this year captured a cheetah that jumped onto the backseat of an American’s jeep during an African Safari. In June, a woman was gored by a Yellowstone bison after a group of people came too close to the massive animal. Shortly after, two women in separate incidents were injured by wild elk.
It should go without saying that one should never willingly touch, pat, or otherwise taunt any animal in the wild. However, it appears some people visiting parks and refuges lack a general awareness of how wild animals interact with – and react to – humans.
The National Park Service reminds visitors that if you cause an animal to move, you’re already too close. Never approach or pursue an animal in any circumstance (even for a selfie). If an animal does approach you, carefully back away and maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards from certain predators, 25 yards from other wildlife.