A video has surfaced on the internet of a young girl being attacked by a lion in an enclosure. The child can be seen in a large cage, along with several other children, milling around the lion and trying to pet it. The video is understood to have been filmed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and local media are reporting that the lion is used as entertainment for crowds in the area. He is regularly brought into the enclosure where people can pay to have an up-close experience with the predator, but in the clip the lion can be seen reaching a breaking point and swiping for the young girl, pinning her to the ground.
The other people in the enclosure can be heard screaming as staff frantically try to pull the lion of the child. The girl is said to have escaped without injury because the six month old lion had been declawed, a common practice outside of Western countries where people look to make money from tourists interactions with the predators. Declawing is the surgical amputation of the tips of the digits and it involves removing the claw and supporting bone of the big cat. Animal welfare grops have long campaigned against the practice and argue that it should more accurately be described as 'de-knuckling' because of the damage to the bone in addition to the claw.
The groups argue that to declaw a cat is the equivalent to amputating the entire finger or toe tip including the nail and nail bed (first knuckle) of every digit on a human being. The procedure can also cause post-surgical complications such as lameness, abscesses, and paw pad atrophy and cats who have gone through the procedure often suffer from long-term complications including arthritis, altered gait and chronic pain. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.