It’s my general understanding that wild lions are pretty dangerous, but after watching a very relaxed lion jump into a safari vehicle full of people, I am very confused.
During a safari at Taigan Safari Park in Vilnohirsk, Crimea, a lion named Filya boarded a vehicle full of tourists, according to the Associated Press. Once aboard the lion nuzzled the tourists and plied them with big lion licks.
All of the visitors seemed surprisingly unfazed and genuinely pleased by a lion climbing all over them. A couple of people even managed to snap a selfie with Filya.
I’m just so curious to know why no one was consumed by fear, or an overwhelming sense of their own mortality? Am I missing something? This is a literal lion we’re talking about.
CBS News has the footage:
Filya eventually hopped out of the car and the tourists concluded their safari unscathed.
According to BuzzFeed News, the park is known for allowing its big cats to roam freely without any partitions to separate them from visitors, and interactions with the park’s wildlife is actually encouraged. You can even find some footage of these wildlife interactions on the park’s YouTube channel.
And, if you think all of this sounds dangerous and ill-advised, you’re correct. As recently as eight weeks ago, another lion at the park apparently bit a visitor. (The tourist’s fine, though.)
As adorable as it is to see Filya cuddling with tourists, we probably shouldn’t forget that lions are not harmless little kittens. Just a thought.
[H/T: BuzzFeed News]