News World Japanese zoo uses fake lion in escaped animal training drill

Japanese zoo uses fake lion in escaped animal training drill

Fake lion escape
What do you do for an escaped lion training drill, when you can't use an animal? A man in a lion suit. Photo: Screenshot/Mainichi News
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A Japanese zoo has gained global attention for a training drill designed to prepare staff for dealing with an escaped lion.

Unwilling to release an actual big cat, workers at Tobe Zoo in north-west Shikoku used the next best thing – a man in a cartoon lion suit.

The drill, which was filmed by local news outlet Mainichi News and has since gone viral on social media, shows the “lion” prowling around the zoo on two legs.

At one point the escapee is cornered by zookeepers holding nets, one of whom is knocked to the ground when the would-be predator charges them.

Staff then simulate shooting a tranquiliser at the faux animal, which eventually stumbles and collapses to the ground.

The ultimate punchline is then revealed, as the video shows two very confused and seemingly unimpressed real lions watching the events unfold.

The video has gained considerable attention online from users commenting on the zoo’s methods.

“Didn’t know Japanese lions have evolved to walk on two legs and [learned] to fist-punch zoo keepers,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another suggested the real big cats were “clearly picking up tips on how to thwart the capture crew when their moment of freedom comes”.

Others queried how the zoo would respond to other potential escapees.

“I really need to see their ‘escape drill’ for a zebra,” one Twitter user wrote.

“It’s got be two guys in a spray-painted pantomime horse costume.”


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