Man mauled by lions in Chile zoo in apparent suicide attempt

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image captionZoos have an established protocol for when a member of the public is exposed to dangerous animals.

A man stripped naked and jumped into a lion enclosure at a zoo in Chile in an apparent suicide attempt, forcing staff to shoot dead two lions.

The 20-year-old man, said to be suffering mental problems, was seriously injured after being mauled.

The zoo in Santiago was crowded with visitors, some of whom saw the attack.

Animal rights activists condemned the shooting of the lions, but the zoo said its priority was the man's life and it had no fast-activating tranquillisers.

Santiago Metropolitan Zoo director Alejandra Montalba said she believed the man forced his way through the roof of the enclosure, jumped in and then took off his clothes.

Ms Montalba said the zoo had an "established protocol" and acted to save the man's life, adding that staff were "deeply affected" by the deaths of the lions, a male and a female.

Local media reported that a suicide note was found among the man's clothing and that some witnesses had heard him shout religious proclamations.

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