Crimea safari park insists tourists petting lions is totally safe

Tourists are being given a controversial chance to meet and even stroke lions and other animals in a safari park at night – in a part of a compound in Crimea only lit by car headlights.

Lions can be stroked during night time visits to a safari park in Crimea

Lions can be stroked during night time visits to a safari park in Crimea

The Taigan Safari Park in Crimea’s Belogorsk town, has undertaken this series of nocturnal ‘special events’ which allows visitors to observe the various wild animals while also giving them the opportunity to pet the lions.

The Mail Online reports that the park management is undertaking this bizarre experience to boost their revenue after claims of economic suffering following its annexation by Russia.

The 80-acre park is home to 500 lions and 1500 animals and birds in total.

The visits are overseen by a team of experienced officials who ensure that the stroking and encounters with the animals take place in a totally safe environment, the park says.

Oleg Zubkov, the park director and animal conservationist, said the night tours have attracted great interest both in the animals and in the problems facing breeds that were dying out.

The staff are mounting campaigns to raise awareness among the public for the protection of wild animals. Mr Zubkov said their aim was to discourage people from hunting.

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