A Canadian teen got a little too close for comfort to a lion she was helping care for in a South African rehabilitation facility when the beast tried to drag her into its cage by the legs.
Lauren Fagen, 18, was volunteering at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre when she leaned in to kiss the beast’s fur.The Montreal girl was then pulled into the animal’s cage, her legs gnawed and gashed by the lion and its mate, before she was finally dragged away by a lifesaving fellow volunteer.
It began as a dream. Fagen was all set to attend McGill University in the fall and wanted toindulge a lifelong passion for animals.
She travelled to the Limpopo province of South Africa to work with the animals at Moholoholo, a center established in 1991 for the rehabilitation of wild African animals like rhinos and honey badgers.
But Fagen wasn’t feeding 5-year-old Duma, a male, when the attack occurred. She was leaning into kiss its fur, reports the Canadian Globe and Mail.
‘I didn’t realize he could stick his paws through,’ Fagen said of the powerful feline.
The lion grabbed her and dragged her legs into the cage, where it began tearing at them.Its mate joined in, as well, by pouncing on the girl’s feet.
‘I should have died or lost a leg. It was a miracle that I survived,’ she said.
Fagen said the big cat was being ‘very, very friendly’ before the attack hinting she may have been lulled into a false sense of safety.
And she told ABC News via Skype from a Pretoria hospital that she still thinks the lion meant no real harm to her.