A lioness at the Oregon Zoo thought she found herself the perfect meal when a Bend family recently brought a baby zebra to her enclosure.
There was just one problem — the black and white striped “zebra” was actually a one-year old boy named Jack, who was visiting the zoo with his family. Despite the mix-up, the African lioness, who is affectionately named Kya, tried her best to push her way through the thick glass wall that separated the two so she could wrap her large jaws around little Jack’s head.
The entire incident, which occured on April 26, was captured on video and uploaded to the Internet. The video has since gone viral. Jack was seemingly unfazed by the ordeal and his family can be heard laughing in the background. At one point his mother, Heather Baltzor, encouraged him to say, “hi kitty, kitty” to Kya the lion.
Baltzor discussed the unique interaction with The Huffington Post today.”It was Jack’s first trip to the zoo. We didn’t even realize he looked like a zebra until we got home but a lot of the animals in the zoo — the crocodiles and the jaguars — apparently did. They would come up to the glass and look at him.”
While many of the other animals were attracted to Jack, it was Kya who gave him the most attention.”We were not worried. We thought it was hilarious,” Baltzor said.Oregon Zoo Director Kim Smith told KGW.com it is not uncommon for the lions to interact with small children.”She’s using a typical prey behavior,” Smith said.
The Huffington Post covered a similar interaction last year between a toddler named Trent Higley and a 400 pound lioness named Angie at the Colorado Springs zoo.In regard to her own son, Baltzor told HuffPost she is pretty sure she knows why Kya was so intrigued by Jack.”He was quite a hit. She must have thought he looked pretty tasty that day,” she laughed. Baltzor said she plans to take Jack to the San Diego Zoo this summer. Asked if her son will be wearing the same black and white striped outfit, she replied, “I think we definitely should.”
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