Transcript for Inside the Lion Park Where American Was Mauled to Death
Good evening and tonight, we have learned the identity of the young American woman killed by a lion in a safari park in south Africa. The questions tonight, what prompted this dead attack and why do we continue to try to get so close to these dangerous wild animals. We're on the ground going inside that park. Like thousands of tourists, Katherine was trying to get a glipgs of nature's most majestic creatures. She was taking photos. Heroin doe was open. According to the park, a lion was standing feet away from her car. That's when the close encounter turned deadly. The lion lunging at her through the car window. It's directly through there this attack happened. They moved the lions into the night enclosure. Help arrived quickly. But it was all tragically too late. Heroin does were down despite signs advising against it. The lion is now caged and the park remains open to visitors today. She could have been mating. That could have made her and the male aggressive. But, you know, anything could have been a possibility. Whatever happened to prompt the lion's aggression, park rule of no open windows is in place for a reason. You can never take that wild out of the animal. Whatever you do, that animal still stays a wild animal and we need to respect that. Here, lions are not in cages, they're in open spaces. We took a tour of the park to see the lions up close for ourselves. So we're just approaching the lion camp where this attack happened. By the time you reach here, you've already been told quite a few times to keep your doors locked and a windows closed. And there's another sign at the entry right there. Windows closed. Almost immediately, we get an up close look at a pride of lions. As you approach these creatures, the reality is that all that's standing between you and them is this glass. You can see how close we get. You're driven in through here. There's a group of them sitting around. A white lion over there. They can walk right up to the vehicle that you're sitting in. Surprisin surprisingly, even after the deadly attack, parkgoers seem unphased. We see some people even now breaking park rules. You can see the car in front of us is driving through these enclosures with the windows wide open. It's incredible despite all of the warnings, people are still willing to take those risks. When you're up close to them like this, it is incredibly tempting because they're so peaceful and lying there sleeping. If they decided to go for you, they can get to you much quicker than you can put the window up. They're wild animals. The lion park issued this statement today. It is with great regret that this incident took place at lion park yesterday afternoon. Safety is always our first priority. We have many signs that clearly state that all windows and doors should be closed and locked at all times. Lions are predators. These animals should be handled and treated with great respect. When it comes to putting man and beast together, it doesn't always go well. The mgm grand in Las Vegas, two trainers had this close call just a few years ago. Then there was 24-year-old Diana killed when she entered a lion's cage at California's cat haven park. The person is still in the enclosure with the lion. Ems will be holding back. And cared for my humans, cameras have captured plenty of close encounters. A family posted their close encounter on youtube. Lock the door. Lion opening the unlocked door to the car with his teeth. Animal tourism is a huge business. Guest farms like these are sprung up all over the place. Giving tourists the chance to get closer than ever to nature's predators. These are wild animals. I tell people, this is their home. You always work with respect when you're in the wild or at a zoo. There are wild animals. They are still wild animals. In 2010, robin Roberts visited this same safari park where the American tourist was killed yesterday. You can see how close people interact with the animals. Come and say hello to your daddy. Oh, my goodness. You can just see the claws there. I see them just fine. Here, tour guide gets very close and comfortable with the big cats. But why do they allow you to go in there? Because I'm seen as one of the family. And videos of so-called lion whisperers never fail to capture the imagination. Kevin Richardson, an animal behavior ris rescued and raised these lions from birth. Even behind the loving embraces, their power cannot be under estimated. Richardson insists he's raising awareness about these animals. There's a comfort zone that person or people and a comfort zone to that wild animal. If that's crossed, it's a train wreck. Usually it's the person's fault or people's fault when that happens. They run a park out of her home in South Africa. Among other animals, they house several big lions inalluding a white lioness. She is deadly. She doesn't let her in with the adult lion, but insists hers would never turn on her. It won't hurt me. No. I raised him. So I trust them and they trust me. Some say these kinds of safari parks should be shut down. Without these parks, the national parks, let us see wild animals and some of the private parks that let us do the same thing, if we can't have these parks, there's no way animals will ever survive. We have them to teach people and educate people. Back at the lion park, the rangers here have separated the killer lioness from the pack. For now, she will be kept away from the public. For "Nightline" in South Africa. Next, a 90,000 square foot
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