It’s easier to be brave with predatory animals when they’re in a zoo and on the other side of a glass enclosure. Or is it?
While others backed away from the glass of the lion’s exhibit at the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand when a 7-year-old lion Malik turned his attention from his food to viewers, 3-year-old Sofia Walker stood her ground. But based on this footage, would you?
Watch the YouTube video of a little girl separated by just centimeters of glass from a lion’s attack:
Although Miss Walker may have let of a bit of an “eek”, her hands barely leave the glass.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Sofia had disturbed Malik’s meal with staring contest and, as Zookeeper Paul Horton said in the YouTube video, Malik saw this little person as just about the right size for eating.
The Herald has more from Sofia’s father, Julian, and the zookeepers:
“She’s always had this quiet confidence with animals, but she’s certainly more confident with a lion than I would be, that’s for sure,” . Walker said.
“When we talk to her about it, it’s like she’s almost moved on. We tell her that she was very brave and she’s watched the clip over and over, but all up I don’t think it’s really affected her.”
Wellington Zoo team leader of carnivores and primates [Horton] said he thought the most incredible thing about the footage was how big Malik was.
“He’s massive and you sometimes forget how big he is until you see a picture of him right up next to a small child. He’s a big character.”
Mr. [Horton] said Malik was a dark-natured lion who was quite stroppy and let you know if he didn’t like something — especially if someone got in the way of his food.
“They don’t like to share, lions.”
Despite the lion’s ill temper, Mr. [Horton] said he’d seen something like this happen only once before with the male lions.
“[Sofia] came across as a bit of a rock star, didn’t she? She’s just got a bit of spunk and doesn’t really seem to mind too much. There were a couple of moments where she was a little bit surprised, which is fair enough completely, but she didn’t seem too bothered.”
Here’s the footage from another angle that must have been taken after initial shock wore off as the kids are all giggles:
Correction: This post originally said the zoo was located in Australia when it is really located in New Zealand.