A zoo in Japan has been using a rather novel way of preparing their staff for a potential lion attack, by having one of them dress up as one.
Zoos are controversial places. For some, they are the perfect place to spend the day with the family. The chance to see exotic animals from far away places. Plus, most important of all, in most cases they are establishments that protect animals. If zoos didn't exist, it's entirely possible that some species of animal would be extinct.
Others see zoos as animal prisons. Places we have created so we can ogle at animals for our own pleasure. In extremely rare cases, those "imprisoned" animals manage to break free from their enclosures. That can naturally cause a state of panic within the zoo, and most people would not know what to do.
Tobe Zoo has taken steps to ensure its staff knows exactly what to do should some of its most dangerous residents escape. However, we're not entirely sure how prepared they will be should it happen. The zoo's bizarre training drill revolved around one of its employees dressing up as a lion and prowling around the zoo grounds, on two feet no less. You'd have thought they would at least crawl around on all fours.
Tobe Zoo in Aichi conducted a lion escape drill today.— Spoon & Tamago (@Johnny_suputama) June 22, 2019
Note the expression on the actual lions faces.
The fact that this particular lion is a biped is by no means the strangest and funniest part of this training routine. As a group of zookeepers closes in on the "escaped" predator with a giant net, it chooses to body check one of its captors, knocking them to the floor. Our favorite part? When the footage cuts to two real-life lions watching on, clearly wondering why humans are so stupid.
The training comes to an end with some sort of weird drive by. A white van shows up with what we're assuming is a tranquilizer gun pointed out the back window. After being hit with a dart, the big cat falls to the floor. The keepers in the van then proceed to use a really big stick to prod their lion-clad employee. Should a real lion escape its enclosure at Tobe Zoo, there's no doubt in our minds that these men and women are now fully equipped to handle it.