WARNING DISTRESSING: Two lions were killed after they severely mauled a man who stripped naked and entered their enclosure in an apparent suicide attempt.
A 20-year-old man broke into the Chilean zoo's lion enclosure, took off his clothes and jumped into the middle of the pen on Saturday.
Once inside the Santiago zoo's enclosure, the lion's reportedly began pouncing on him and started to "play" with him horrifying the zoo's visitors witnessing the attack.
The man was being mauled by the lions and zookeepers intervened by killing the two lions in order to save his life.
He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and was said to be in a grave condition.
Director Alejandra Montalba of Santiago's Metropolitan Zoo told local media the park was crowded with visitors at the time of the attack.
"The zoo has an established protocol because people's lives are very important to us," said Montalba, adding that there were no fast-acting tranquilisers available to stop the lions from mauling the man.
She said she was "deeply affected" by the deaths of the two lions, a male and a female.
An apparent suicide note was found in the man's clothing, said Metropolitan Park director Mauricio Fabry.
Witness Cynthia Vasquez, told Chilean radio station Bio Bio that the man made religious proclamations before the lions began to play with him.
"He entered the enclosure from above and the lions started to play with him, and then after they attacked him,’ Ms Vasquez said.
She also said the man was "shouting things about Jesus."
Ms Vasquez said security personal threw water over the lions and evacuated the people before firing shots.
Another witness said: "There were a lot of children there, and parents covered their eyes while it was going on."
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
News break – May 22