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10th Jan 2012 3:17pm | By Editor
A video of a lion rearing in fury as a little girl looks into his enclosure in the zoo went viral today, but is there another side to the story? Animal rights campaigners say yes.
If you're nauseated by animals stories, click here and read about a marriage proposal that went wrong instead. Otherwise, watch this clip of a three-year-old in New Zealand whose encounter with a lion in Wellington Zoo has now been viewed more than 95,000 times on Youtube.
The video shows Sophia Walker looking into the lion's enclosure with her face pressed up against the glass. The lion become increasingly angry and finally begins clawing at the barrier.
Amusingly, Sophia is unfazed and doesn't even flinch as the huge beast roars at her.
Sophia's father, who filmed the encounter, told the New Zealand Herald: “She's always had this quiet confidence with animals, but she's certainly more confident with a lion than I would be, that's for sure.
"When we talk to her about it, it's like she's almost moved on. We tell her that she was very brave and she's watched the clip over and over, but all up I don't think it's really affected her."
The video may anger animal rights campaigners who believe that keeping wild animals in captivity for human entertainment is wrong.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say this about zoos:
"In general, zoos and wildlife parks preclude or severely restrict natural behaviour, such as flying, swimming, running, hunting, climbing, scavenging, foraging, digging, exploring, and selecting a partner. The physical and mental frustrations of captivity often lead to abnormal, neurotic, and even self-destructive behaviour, such as incessant pacing, swaying, head-bobbing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation."
Watch the lion vs Sophia video here.
Want to see another lion trying to eat a different child?