Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
An animal park has been slammed for creating a glass box that allows visitors to crawl inside the lions enclosure to tease the frustrated adult lion inside.
The criticism came after a video of two women teasing the huge lion from behind a glass enclosure was shared as part of a promotion offering a “memorable face-to-face encounter” to be enjoyed by all the family.
It is just one of the ways that animal activists say animals are being exploited at the Animal City wildlife park in the Lebanese town of Zakrit which also includes encouraging animals to breed purely so that they have youngsters that can be photographed with visitors.
Hundreds of pictures are available online of people photographing themselves with the exotic animals at the zoo, including bear cubs, monkeys and lion cubs, which was slammed by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which called for people to boycott the zoo.
The UK director of PETA, Elisa Allen, said: “Shame on this shoddy park for treating animals as nothing more than living exhibits. This gimmicky interaction is clearly agitating the lion, and PETA urges everyone opposed to cruelty to stay well away from this facility and others that rob animals of meaningful lives, condemning them to endure stress and despair for the sake of human entertainment.”
She also rejected the suggestion from the zoo that boycotting would mean the animal’s starved, saying that on the contrary, proper treatment can always be provided elsewhere, and by visiting the zoo people were encouraging the animal’s exploitation.
She said: “It’s worth remembering that this shoddy park seems to be breeding yet more animals – creating more hungry mouths to feed – just so that it can continue to imprison them for profit. But exhibitors can phase out their cruel displays by stopping all breeding programmes and working with animal protection bodies to move the animals to reputable sanctuaries where they can have some semblance of the life they’ve been denied.”
The clip of the lion desperately trying to get to the people in the glass page, and growing increasingly frustrated is it paws at the glass, was accompanied with the message: “Make your next trip to Animal City even more special with a memorable face-to-face encounter with the lion.”
In the footage, a young woman is seen kneeling in a small glass enclosure as a frustrated lion repeatedly paws at the glass.
Meanwhile, the woman mocks the lion by mimicking its apparent frustration, before a pal joins her in the enclosure.
The two young women then pose for snaps as the desperate lion continues to paw at the glass enclosure.
Twitter user ‘Robert Allam’ said: “Normalise NOT locking up wildlife and using them in stressful ways for attractions and influencers. This poor lion is being tortured like a prisoner for profit. These places should be reported for animal abuse.”
He added: “Selling ‘memorable’ face to face abusing poor lions who can do nothing other than claw away at proofed glass, wow thanks.”
Radio DJ Stef Burgon said: “This is bloody awful!”
Meanwhile, other netizens called the footage “disgusting” and one Instagram user said: “This truly makes my heart hurt.”
Animal City calls itself Lebanon’s largest shelter and wildlife park with over 200 species of animals as well as shops, restaurants, and a children’s play area.