In the wild, most mothers have the common sense to keep their young away from lions. They can be pretty dangerous. That’s just common knowledge.
When on television, however, judgment can many times be compromised.
A clip of a Mexican talk show confirms the phenomenon pretty clearly. After eyeing a baby girl sitting on her mother’s lap for a few moments, a lion pounced on the toddler, biting at her pant leg. After trainers pulled the lion off of the child (while actually keeping the animal striking close to the clearly traumatized little girl) the mother smiled nervously in the background. Nearly a minute passes before the child, reaching out to her mother from the arms of one of the trainers the whole time, is reunited with her mom, who immediately walks off set.
As it turns out, big cats that are known for their dominance in the wild can be pretty dangerous when they’re kept close to humans. In the United States, for instance, a partial listing shows that there have been at least 759 such incidents involving captive exotic cats in the past 26 years. During that time, 24 people have lost their lives including 17 adults and five children.
Maulings are much more common. During that same time period, 260 adults and children were mauled. This all came in some instances as a result of the 275 recorded escapes of exotic cats in the U.S. A recorded 146 big cats were killed during that period and 133 were confiscated from their owners.
Outside of the U.S., an estimated 98 people were killed during that time and another 155 were mauled. Since there is no official reporting agency or tally of these deaths and maulings, the number is thought to be much higher in reality. The number of attacks that didn’t result in an injury, like the one caught in the video, isn’t known.