Believe It or Not!
I know what you’re thinking…A zoo that let’s you walk into the lion’s den and allows you to pet them like they were a house cat named fluffy? There’s probably a horrible accident about to happen, right?…
Contrary to popular belief this unbelievable zoo in the Outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, allows you to do just that and they’ve managed to do so INCIDENT FREE since 1994! Visitors of the Lujan Zoo can do so much more than just admire the animals from afar, but if they feel brave enough, they can ride the backs of lions or hand-feed bears and cheetahs.
Believe it or not, zoo keepers are so confident of their animal’s behaviors and that nothing is going to go wrong that they don’t require visitors to sign any waivers before entering the animals’ cages, and they even allow small children in too!
The real question behind this incredible zoo is how exactly do they manage to tame such wild and predatory animals? According to Jorge Semino, the zoo’s director, the secret lies in his unique methods of raising the animals, which involve constant interaction with people. The big cats receive the most attention, and as soon as new cubs are born, animal trainers start work on diminishing violent instincts associated with competition for food.
They make sure they all have access to the mother’s teets and that nursing time is distributed equally. As they grow up, trainers start using vocal commands to teach the felines to recognize the difference between their hands and the meat they are fed. Dogs are also used as an example. Semino says the big cats witness as the canines gently and obediently interact with humans, and this serves as a good example for them.
Despite accusations of the zoo’s animals being sedated so they don’t pose a danger to visitors, zoo representatives have denied these claims arguing that it would be impossible to constantly drug the animals because they would soon become sick and die.
“The only way is to raise them from when they are babies and educate them with love, affection and respect, and they will return the same,” the Lujan Zoo director said about his methods.