‘Drunk’ zoo visitor leaps into lion enclosure to ‘shake hands’ with big cats

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HYDERABAD, India – An allegedly inebriated visitor found himself face to face with a female lion at a zoo in Hyderabad, India, and somehow emerged with barely a scratch.

Identified as Mukesh, a 35-year-old rail worker from Rajasthan, the man later admitted to police that he had been drinking before scaling the big cats’ enclosure inside the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad Sunday evening, according to The Hindu.

Shocking video shows Mukesh ignoring the cries of others as he drops into the moat and wades toward the cats as a lioness named Radhika runs to the edge of the water. “Please come to me my darling” he said, according to witnesses. A male lion, Krishna, joined Radhika as the two eyed the intruder, who, hand outstretched, came within feet of the lions.

“He was lucky, as the lions are usually wary of water. Given that these cats are human reared, they are tamer than wild cats and do not see humans as prey. Had it been the tiger’s moat, Mukesh would have become fodder,” a zoo worker told the paper.

Nehru employees responded to the situation and managed to scare the lions away from Mukesh, who they fished out of the 12-foot-deep enclosure using a long pole.

“When asked to explain his actions, he said he wanted to see the lion up close and shake its hand,” said Harish Kaushik, an inspector with the Bahadurpura police. “We will question him again after he sobers up.”

Mukesh was charged with breaking the Wildlife Protection Act.