Lion climbs into vehicle full of stunned tourists during a safari tour
When safari tours come close to the animas under observation, there's always the worry that they will pose some sort of threat. After all, while you might want to pet a lion, it probably wouldn't turn out to well for you if you tried it out. However, in this case, a lion approaching and even climbing into a vehicle had some seriously unexpected results.
According to the Associated Press, Filya, a two-year-old lion, was taking a nap at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea, when a truckful of tourists pulled up nearby. Taking an interest in the humans who had come to look at him, he creeped over, before climbing inside the truck, his huge size dwarfing the driver.
Once he climbed in, it became clear that this was not an aggressive predator, but a giant kitty cat. While he eventually squeezed out the driver (park owner Oleg Zubkov), he was only there to play with the passengers, passively letting them pet him as he snuggled in and even licked one woman on the face.
The video went viral after it was released online, and when you see the footage, you can understand why:
Not all incidents work in quite the same way, however. While Filya seems happy enough, there was actually a lion attack weeks earlier. One Russian tourist was bitten by another lion, Vitya, in the same park. Olga Solomina, told TV channel Crimea 24 that the lion “Bit through my right arm and used it to drag me … like a puppet.
"The lion grabbed my right hand and dragged me along the ground. I just had time to close my eyes."
“When I got back to my senses, I was already in the hands of the park’s staff who were helping me. When it happened, right at the moment of the incident, I actually said goodbye to my life.
“I thought I was to be torn apart. Then he [Zubkov] rushed me to the park’s medical point."
Later, Mr Zubkov explained that he didn’t realise that Solomina had been drinking alcohol before coming into the enclosure. “She came inside and started ruffling the lions’s mane,” he said. “Vitya the lion came close to her and pulled her away by her arm. She wasn’t pulled forcefully into the park. She knew this was a dangerous site.”
While the more recent encounter was undoubtedly adorable, it's probably best to keep your distance from a lion.