As the king of the jungle, lions have been revered throughout history for their courage and strength. Lions are the only cats that live in family units and they lead complex and dynamic lives in the wild. Sadly, there are just 30,000 lions left on our planet and many of them are kept in captivity without any chance of freedom. In the wild, lions spend their days hunting, patrolling their territory, and interacting with their families. In captivity, however, these animals are reduced to stress and frustration ridden big cats who have no choice but to spend their days pacing. Recently, one particular captive lion decided enough was enough.

Two zoo keepers in Japan were seriously injured after they were mauled by a lion they were prepping for a photo shoot. The caretakers were giving a bath to a ten-year-old lion inside of his cage at the Shonan Animal Production, located in the Japanese city of Narita, when the lion … well, went wild on his handlers. The two people, unfortunately, suffered “severe” wounds to their face, head, and legs but were reportedly conscious after the attack. The lion tried to escape but his chains stopped him.

According to Japanese media, Shonan Animal Production has a total of 400 types of animals used for TV commercials and shows. Local police and health officials are now investigating whether the animals have suffered any abuse by the Shonan staff.

While it’s tragic that two people suffered injuries, this is just another story that shows what happens when wild animals are kept captive: they fight back. And it’s a lose-lose situation for both the animals and people. In the wild, African lions live in groups of around fifteen individuals, consisting of five to ten females and cubs, and two or three males who are generally brothers. Usually, two or more females in a pride will give birth to cubs at the same time, and the new babies are then raised by the entire pride. African lions are also incredibly affectionate and protective. Knowing about their tight-knit family units, it comes as no surprise that the lion held captive by the Shonan Animal Production wanted to escape. 

Please share this post with your friends and family to help spread awareness about what happens when wild animals are kept captive!

Image Source: Kevin McGee