“I’m Staying in the Car”: Man Walking With Lions Uses a Stick for Protection, SA Shares Its Doubts

“I’m Staying in the Car”: Man Walking With Lions Uses a Stick for Protection, SA Shares Its Doubts

  • A TikTokker shared a video of himself and safari guides walking with lions and using a stick for protection
  • People in the video's comment section feared for their safety and shared their thoughts on the situation
  • An owner of a lion sanctuary spoke to Briefly News and shared that the interaction with the wild animals was a form of exploitation
A man walking with lions uses a stick for protection.
A man had nothing but a stick to protect himself from the lions. Images: @aroundtheworldwithtony
Source: TikTok

A man touring South Africa's natural beauty found himself walking with lions, and all he had to protect himself was a stick.

The man, simply known as Tony, took to his TikTok account (@aroundtheworldwithtony) to share a video of the lions he met on his walk with experienced safari guides. The big cats are first seen in the distance and quickly run to make their way towards the guide.

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With a stick in hand and waiting for the lions' arrival, the guide calmly joked and said:

"Whenever they look at you, you must always smile because lions like happy meals."

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Once another guide catches up with the group, they start to walk with the lions in front of them.

Tony captioned his experience with the lions:

"They came running right towards us, but I had a stick for protection."

Watch the viral video below:

Owner of local lion sanctuary disapproves of protection method

Paul Hart, the owner of Drakenstein Lion Park, South Africa’s longest-operating true sanctuary, spoke to Briefly News and stated that interactions with wild animals are "exploitation at its worst."

He also said there is no conservation value in breeding lions in captivity.

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"Once these captive-bred lions have served their purpose in cub-petting and then lion-walking operations, they invariably end up either in canned hunts or being killed for the lion bone trade."

Speaking about the use of sticks for protection, Paul shared:

"The lions are habituated to a stick as a deterrent from a young age by being beaten with said sticks. The fear of the stick stays with them as they grow older.
"It is disingenuous for any rational person to think that a mere stick would ward off a lion attack. Nature is full of sticks and lions do not live in fear from those. The activity is nothing more than a circus act at the expense of the animals."

Mzansi reacts to lion interaction

Raking in over 4.3 million views, the video attracted thousands to the comment section.

@quibaby89 told online users:

"The day those lions figure out those sticks won’t do anything, you’re toast."

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@vessel_servant1 joked and said:

"That stick will end up being the lions' toothpick afterwards."

Afraid, @gklsecph.clgdefhl noted:

"Even if you are related to the lions, I'm staying in the car."

@yonstarsgarage said of the video:

"They may not be rich, but they live a life of kings to experience a bond like this."

Commenting on what the guide said about the lions jumping on each other, @rose25baby stated:

"He said that's how they develop their hunting skills. Bathong, from that I would be running because no man, what if I am a part of the development?"

Woman cuddles with lions after their mother dies

In a related article, Briefly News reported about model and internet personality Freya Air Aspinall, who shared on social media that she had to sleep with lion cubs Zemo and Zala for five months following their mother's passing.

TikTokkers filled the comment section with concerns over the woman's safety. However, there were also a few people who did not find the interaction alarming.

Source: Briefly News

Jade Rhode avatar

Jade Rhode (Editor) Jade Rhode is a Human Interest Reporter who joined the Briefly News team in April 2024. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes University, majoring in Journalism and Media Studies (distinction) and Linguistics. Before pursuing her tertiary education, Jade worked as a freelance writer at Vannie Kaap News, telling the tales of the community. After her studies, Jade worked as an editorial intern for BONA Magazine, contributing to both print and online. To get in touch with Jade, please email jade.rhode@briefly.co.za