The horrifying moment a zookeeper had his right ring finger ripped off by a lion has been captured on video by stunned witnesses.
Footage shows the man dressed in red poking his fingers through the cage at Jamaica Zoo in an effort to pat the animal as it growls and bares its teeth.
He removes them before sticking his fingers into the cage again, prompting the lion to bite down.
The girls with their phone cameras up keep recording as he tries to wrestle his hand away, propping his foot up on the fence for stability, as does the lion.
Eventually, the man yanks on his hand and falls backwards, seemingly severing his finger.
The lion then appears to retreat into its cage with the appendage in its mouth.
A witness told the Jamaica Observer the incident unfolded in front of a crowd of about 15 people.
She said the zookeeper was trying to impress visitors as their tour came to an end.
“When it happened, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think it was serious. I didn’t realise the seriousness of it, because it’s their job to put on a show,” the woman told the publication.
“Obviously, when he fell on the ground everybody realised that it was serious. Everybody started to panic.”
The witness said the injured zoo keeper got into a car and left the area.
“The entire skin and about the first joint of his finger was gone,” she added.
“His facial expression when he was walking is like the pain never kicked in.”
Safety procedures not followed, says zoo
A spokesperson for the zoo told the Jamaica Observer via a media statement the man was a contractor and it was doing all it could to help him recover.
"The actions displayed in a video by a contractor to Jamaica Zoo, is tragic and do not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times at Jamaica Zoo," the statement said.
"It is an unfortunate event that should never have happened, and we the family of Jamaica Zoo are doing everything to assist the gentleman in moving forward."
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