Lion Bites Off Zoo Attendant's Finger in Horrifying Video

A video of a zoo attendant at Jamaica Zoo having his finger bitten off by a lion on Friday has gone viral on Twitter.

The video, which has been viewed just under 4 million times, shows the man sticking his hand in the lion's cage while visitors record the incident using their cell phones.

The incident took place at the Jamaica Zoo in Lacovia, St Elizabeth on around 4:30 p.m. in front of about 15 people, according to a Jamaican Observer report.

The man can be seen prodding and stroking the lion while it roars and bares its teeth.

The lion then bites the man's finger and a struggle ensues as the man swears and tries to pull his digit out of the lion's mouth.

Eventually, the lion bites off the man's finger and he falls to the ground.

A visitor to the zoo spoke to the Jamaica Observer and revealed her initial reaction.

"When it happened, I thought it was a joke. I didn't think it was serious," the person, who did not want to be named, said.

"I didn't realize the seriousness of it, because it's their job to put on a show.

"Obviously, when he fell on the ground everybody realized that it was serious. Everybody started to panic."

The visitor also spoke about the moments afterward that are unseen in the viral video.

"The entire skin and about the first joint of his finger was gone," the visitor said.

"I ran away from the whole thing, because [I don't] like [to] see blood and it was too graphic for me.

"His facial expression when was walking is like the pain never kicked in."

Pamela Lawson, managing director at the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said she would be looking into the incident.

"We will be going down there and I will be communicating with the National Environment and Planning Agency who has oversight over Jamaica Zoo," she said.

NEPA, which grants permits and regulates the conditions under which protected animals are held in captivity, are scheduled to visit the attraction as part of an investigation this week, according to a Jamaica Gleaner report.

"It's just not common sense... There have been many complaints about Jamaica Zoo," Lawson said.

"You keep kicking... After a while, it's going to turn around and bite you."

Jamaica Zoo told Newsweek they are reviewing the video and taking steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.

"The management and staff here at Jamaica Zoo wishes to reassure the public that we pride ourselves on the love, care, and professional treatment our animals receive," the company said in a statement.

"The actions displayed in a video by a contractor to Jamaica Zoo, is tragic and do not represent the safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times."

"We are currently reviewing the video, with a view of preventing any future recurrences," the statement continued.

"It is an unfortunate event that should never have happened, and we the family of Jamaica Zoo are doing everything to assist the gentleman in moving forward.

"We do hope you continue to support Jamaica Zoo. We have always been and will continue to be a safe place for you and your family to visit."

Lion finger
A video of a man having his finger bitten off by a lion at Jamaica Zoo has gone viral. Stock image of a lion. Getty Images

Update 05/24/22, 4:28 a,m, ET: This article was updated to include comment from Jamaica Zoo.