A tourist who reached out the window of a jeep to stroke a passing male lion will live to pet again, though he'll likely need new underwear.
The old expression “let sleeping dogs lie” also applies to lions, as one very foolish (and very lucky) tourist recently discovered. Perhaps they weren't aware (or more likely, forgot) that wild lions will often seek out photo-safari company jeeps... not to mingle with people, but to soak up the welcome shade they provide from the blistering midday sun. Thus it's not uncommon for safari-goers to have two, three, even an entire pride of lions within touching distance... but this doesn't mean it's OK to touch them! The safari companies frown on this and – surprise, surprise – so do the lions.
This video was recorded by an unidentified member of a photo-safari in South Africa, and was posted to Wildlife Sightings' YouTube account on June 15th of 2018... it's already racked up over 200,000 views at press time. No graphic content was required for this video but it could very easily have been a different story. "Only those who work in the wild know the speed of a lion and it could have torn the arm off the person touching it," explained South African safari ranger Naas Smit. "It would have the power to pull that tourist straight out of that window and kill them instantly in front of their friends. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do."
By the time the touchy-feely tourist realized they'd disobeyed royal protocol in a VERY big way, the aggrieved King of Beasts was about to go full Beast Mode. Others inside the jeep begged for someone to shut the window, which chose the worst possible moment to jam! Why the window was open in the first place is another question for the safari company to consider.
"It could also just have easily crashed its way through the open window and torn into those inside," explained Smit. "They were lucky to get away with it. They are wild animals. If the lion had killed this person then game rangers would probably have had to have killed it, and if it was the pride male it could have serious consequences. I just have to shake my head when I see people behaving like this and they deserve all they get." Harsh... but so true!