Meet the dear girl who watched LION KING one too many times. Yup. How do I know? Well, take another look at the headline would you?
‘It was a miracle that I survived’
A Canadian teen got a little too close for comfort to a lion she was helping care for in a South African rehabilitation facility when the beast tried to drag her into its cage by the legs.
Lauren Fagen, 18, was volunteering at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre when she leaned in to kiss the beast’s fur.
The Montreal girl was then pulled into the animal’s cage, her legs gnawed and gashed by the lion and its mate, before she was finally dragged away by a lifesaving fellow volunteer.
It began as a dream. Fagen was all set to attend McGill University in the fall and wanted to indulge a lifelong passion for animals.
She travelled to the Limpopo province of South Africa to work with the animals at Moholoholo, a center established in 1991 for the rehabilitation of wild African animals like rhinos and honey badgers.
They give a home to injured and poisoned animals that can no longer live in the wild.
Fagen’s job was to clean cages. Only trained professionals are allowed to feed the lions.
But Fagen wasn’t feeding 5-year-old Duma, a male, when the attack occurred. She was leaning in to kiss its fur, reports the Canadian Globe and Mail.
‘I didn’t realize he could stick his paws through,’ Fagen said of the powerful feline.
The lion grabbed her and dragged her legs into the cage, where it began tearing at them
Its mate joined in, as well, by pouncing on the girl’s feet.
First time for everything: The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa takes in injured and poisoned animals. Fagen’s was the first attack since it was founded in 1991 (I am thinking that’s probably because none of the other visitors tried kissing the lions, just a wild guess here)
‘I should have died or lost a leg. It was a miracle that I survived,’ she said.
Fagen said the big cat was being ‘very, very friendly’ before the attack hinting she may have been lulled into a false sense of safety.
And she told ABC News via Skype from a Pretoria hospital that she still thinks the lion meant no real harm to her.
Hearing her screams, some fellow volunteers came running.
One of them, a veterinary nurse from Britain, managed to beat the the lion and lioness off of Fagen with a broom.
‘Both her knees were injured and she had puncture wounds in the calf and huge gouges out of her thigh,’ said 24-year-old lifesaver Natalie Bennett.
Lucky: Fagen seemed to be doing alright and will be home in Montreal soon. ‘It¿s a miracle it wasn¿t worse,’ the founder of the refuge said. ‘She came here telling people that she wanted to hug an animal’
‘She’ll have some scarring on her legs, but there won’t be any permanent damage,’ a manager of the wildlife centre, Marisa Reinach, told the Globe and Mail.
There isn’t any permanent damage to Fagen’s love of animals, either.
She said she signed a waiver when she arrived at the center and knew the risks.
It was the first attack at the 20-year-old center and, according to Moholoholo founder Brian Jones, things could have been much worse.
‘This is quite mild – it’s a miracle it wasn’t worse,’ he said. ‘She came here telling people that she wanted to hug an animal.’
Culled from www.dailymail.co.uk