Breaking News Emails
A video of a little boy at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans appearing unfazed as a lion creeps up behind him has prompted the zoo to remind visitors about animal safety.
The video shows the boy sitting in front of a protective glass with his back to the lion's exhibit when 3-year-old Zuri slowly walks up behind him and slaps a paw at the glass.
The boy doesn't flinch and is shown smiling at the lion. A woman carrying a young girl then approaches the glass and seats the girl next to the boy at which point Zuri swats the glass.
Joel Hamilton, the zoo's vice president and general curator, said the habitat was recently built and the lions "are still adjusting to their new home."
He also told NBC News that the guests were not at fault and did not provoke Zuri's behavior, but the video should serve as a reminder that behavior such as tapping the glass or throwing items in the habitat can possibly injure the animals.
The biggest potential harm is that a lion could injure a tooth by running up to the glass, which could require it undergo a root canal and need anesthesia, Hamilton told Nola.com.
Zuri is described as "playful, outgoing and inquisitive," on the zoo's website and her hobbies include people watching and chasing butterflies.
According to the zoo, lions are critically endangered with a total population of only 20,000.