Woman mauled by lion after she entered its enclosure to take a picture with the big cat
46-year-old Olga Solomina said that she had been given the chance to get into the enclosure with the animals and take pictures with one of the big cats
A woman was mauled by a lion but managed to survive after she foolishly entered its enclosure at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea, Ukraine, in order to pose for photos with the big cat, reports said.
The victim was identified as 46-year-old Olga Solomina.
Solomina had always dreamt of traveling to Africa and treasuring the wildlife of the continent, but she had to make do with the nearby Crimean park which offers a "walk with the lions" experience for 6,000 roubles (£72).
Speaking to a local media outlet, Solomina said she had been given the chance to get into the enclosure with the animals and take pictures with one of the big cats.
However, moments after the picture of her crouching next to the lion had been taken, the animal roused from its docility and clamped its mouth on Solomina's right arm and started dragging her away.
She was saved by Oleg Zubkov, the director of the park, who was able to chase the animal away. She told the TV channel Crimea 24: "The lion grabbed my right hand and dragged me along the ground. I just had time to close my eyes. I thought that now they would tear me apart. It dragged me like a doll. It was, of course, seconds, but to me they seemed like an eternity. At this time I said goodbye to life."
⚡️⚡️⚡️Сейчас пострадавшая в больнице. Наш корр уже встретилась с девушкой. Подробности смотрите в эфире телеканала #крым24 #новости #Тайган #лев #туристка #укус #больница #пострадавшая #следимзасобытиями pic.twitter.com/zKRRzHTEcV— Телеканал "Крым 24" (@news_crimea24) July 19, 2018
She managed to walk away from the incident with only minor injuries to her arm and has been discharged from the hospital since the attack. Zubkov, the park's director, said that there hadn't been an incident similar to this one in the park since it started operating the tour seven years ago.
He also said that Solomina had been in violation of the park's security rules and had been drunk at the time the attack occurred. Zubkov claimed that he offered to pay her medical bills after she had demanded the park for compensation.
Speaking to the Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, he said: "Unfortunately, the woman, in my opinion, was slightly drunk. Neither I nor the administrator noticed this before the excursion. It was only during the safari I saw that she began to behave inappropriately - pulling the lion by the mane and so on. Olga did not immediately want to go to the hospital. During the treatment of the wound, she asked for cognac instead of an anesthetic."
The Taigan Safari Park is no stranger to controversy. In the past, there was serious backlash from the family of one of the worker's, Maxim Yakovlev, when his body was discovered in the park covered with serious injuries. The family said that the 29-year-old had been mauled to death by a tiger while at the park but the owners of the park vehemently denied the claims.
In a somewhat similar incident, relatives of a father-of-two in China, who was mauled to death on January 30, 2017, by three tigers at a zoo, slammed the lax security of the zoo that allowed him to climb into the animals' enclosure. The family said that the management at Ningbo Youngor Zoo, in the Zhejiang province of China, should take responsibility for the gaps in their security on their outer fences which probably tempted 40-year-old Zhang to jump the fence instead of paying the entry fee.
The daring father was accompanied by a friend and they managed to climb the 3-meter (10 feet) wall just to get out of paying the £15 entry fee. Unfortunately for him, he landed in a tiger enclosure on the other side and was mauled to death by three adult tigers. The two men were pictured on top of the wall just minutes before the gruesome tiger attack took place in the zoo. Shanghaiist reported that the family was gunning for zoo security because the men were able to climb the wall so easily.
One of his relatives told Pear Video: "[The zoo] should not give people the opportunity to climb over." The relative also added that the Ningbo Youngor Zoo did not have good CCTV measures along the outer perimeter. The dead man's friend was about to follow his friend in when he witnessed the entire incident from the top of the wall. Zhang's wife and children had already gone through the front entrance of the zoo to buy a ticket.
The family watched in absolute horror as the man was viciously attacked by the big cats. The horrifying footage of the attack shows Zhang being mauled by the large cats on his head and neck as onlookers can be heard screaming in the background. He died in the hospital later on. While one tiger was shot dead, the other two tigers were scared away by officials with flare guns. The footage shows Zhang successfully getting one of the tigers away from him using his foot at one point.
NTDTV reported that one of the tigers was seen dragging Zhang's bloodied body by his foot into the woods located in the enclosure. One of the shocked witnesses told the South China Morning Post: "I saw the tiger mauling the person, whose face was covered with blood. Every time he sat up, the tiger pushed him down again."
On January 28, 2017, a white Bengal tiger caused havoc in the streets of Sicily after it escaped from a circus. Residents had to barricade themselves in their homes while the special police trapped the animal in a private parking lot. In January 2017, a vet and his assistant were mauled to death by three man-eating lions in a wildlife reserve in Jordan. A security official of the park said that the animals were all put down after the attack.