This is not what “following your passion” means, in case there are young people out there reading this and contemplating volunteering with wild animals before college.
An 18-year-old Montreal woman remains hospitalized after she was attacked Monday by two lions at a South African animal sanctuary, The Globe and Mail reported.
Lauren Fagen admitted she was trying to kiss the male lion, Duma, when it hooked her thigh and dragged her to the ground. Another cat, a female, joined the attack that left Fagen with severe lacerations.
“I didn’t realize he could stick his paws through,” Fagen told the Globe. “I should have died or lost a leg. It was a miracle that I survived. He could have ripped off my skin and I would have died of blood loss.”
She had been volunteering for about one week at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, saying large cats are a “passion” she wanted to explore before entering McGill University in the fall.
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Fagen will need about a month of recovery after her release from hospital next Monday, Looklocal.co.za reported. Scars will likely remain with her for a lifetime.
Duma managed to attack Fagen through two fences or barriers, reports said.
According to Sun News in Canada, Fagen might have mistaken Duma’s rubbing against the bars of his cage as a sign of affection.
“I could not believe what was happening, especially since moments before he was friendly with his head and body pressed against the bars, as though he wanted me to rub him,” Fagen said, according to Sun News.
Authorities at the center said volunteers are warned repeatedly to stay away from the larger animals.
Fagen had spent much of her volunteering time cleaning cages.
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