Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Peter Paul Rubens is a painting that has inspired millions in capturing the moment of faith dedicated in the Bible. The same cannot be said about the scene this week in Santiago, Chile where a man stripped naked and jumped into the lion enclosure at the zoo in what is believed to be a bizarre suicide attempt. In order to save the man, the zoo was forced to shoot and kill the two lions. (Warning: disturbing video shot from YouTube below.)
Witnesses said that the man was screaming religious statements as the cats attacked. The 20-year-old man was accidentally hit with a tranquilizer as zookeepers tried to first put the lions to sleep. However, they were unwilling to risk the life of the man and killed the lions. He is in grave condition.
Clearly this is a disturbed individual. However, the loss of these two animals was a huge tragedy for the zoo keepers who were forced to destroy these creatures who did nothing to bring about their demise other than act according to their nature. in the end, this man may have achieved his suicidal purpose but at a great (and presumably unintended) cost.