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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 10:09 GMT
Man survives leap into lion's den
A man identified as Lucas Tomas, 22, with lion Quique at Buenos Aires zoo
A lion pounced on Mr Tomas after he taunted it
A man is recovering from minor injuries after jumping into the lion pen at an Argentine zoo and taunting the animals.

Lucas Tomas, 22, was said to have held his jacket like a bullfighter's cape at one of Buenos Aires zoo's two lions.

The lion, Quique, reacted by pouncing on him and repeatedly biting at him. TV footage showed the animal on top of him, visibly biting him at least once.

Hospital officials said Mr Tomas was being treated for wounds to arms and face as well as psychological problems.

Tranquillised

The zoo's chief veterinarian, Miguel Rivolta, described how Mr Tomas entered the enclosure on Sunday and tried to goad one of the lions.

"He jumped into the lion's pen, and when the lions didn't react, he took off his jacket and egged them on," said Mr Rivolta. "It was an act of madness."

He said the lions initially took no notice of their unexpected visitor - being used to the zookeepers - but the man persisted in teasing them.

Zoo officials eventually managed to tranquilise Quique, and Mr Tomas climbed out and was taken to hospital.

Fernandez Hospital's chief medic, Juan Carlos Ramares, said the patient told the authorities he had been ordered by "voices from God" to enter the lion's den.




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