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Watch: Deer in the Lions Den at National Zoo in Washington D.C.


It was like Kruger National Park for a short while at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on Sunday afternoon when a wild deer from Rock Creek Park leapt over the zoo enclosure into the lion exhibit.


While zoo visitors shrieked, the deer leapt around the enclosure, seeking safety in the moat.

NBC reports: "Zoo keepers got into the exhibit and were able to get the lions back inside the lion house. By that time, the deer had taken shelter behind a tree, according to Pamela Baker-Massan, a spokeswoman for the Zoo. Zoo police cleared visitors from the area and the zoo's vet staff went in, sedated the deer and took it to an animal hospital to be treated for injuries Baker-Massan called serious.. The whole ordeal lasted about 45 minutes, according to Baker-Massan, who said it's the first time she remembers a deer getting into a carnivore exhibit."

UPDATED: Sad. "Zoo police cleared visitors from the area and the zoo's vet staff went in, sedated the deer and took it to an animal hospital. Its injuries were too serious though and several hours later, after being examined by Zoo experts, the deer was put to sleep."

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...


Part two:

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  1. I love how the guy talking says they are lazy. Um, they are raised in captivity and probably have no idea what to do about live food. I mean even in the second video it was clear the lion wasn't sure what to do. That is one lucky deer!

    Posted by: Sam | Nov 8, 2009 9:27:46 PM

  2. Sad ending. According to the Washington Post, 'They found it "pretty evident" that the deer "would not survive," and it was euthanized...'

    Posted by: bcarter3 | Nov 8, 2009 9:42:45 PM

  3. Did I hear someone in the video say, "Now that's a wet pussy"?

    Posted by: Nmls | Nov 8, 2009 9:44:55 PM

  4. Thats is so mean, they robbed the lions of its new toy.

    Posted by: Stuart | Nov 8, 2009 10:14:42 PM

  5. That deer did not escape.

    I don't approve of Bambi snuff films.

    Posted by: Josh G. | Nov 8, 2009 10:23:24 PM

  6. I live just a few blocks from Rock Creek Park. The National Park Service is trying to figure out how to deal with the over population of deer in the park, and planning on hiring sharp-shooters to cull the herd (along with other methods of population control). It certainly would have been weird to have them nurse one back to health and then release it to be killed by other government employees/contractors. Now if they could only do something about the raccoons that crap all over by back yard. (There are so many they have even escaped the park and made their way to the White House grounds.)

    Life is tooth and claw. Something modern Homo Sapiens don't like to be reminded of.

    Posted by: Charlie | Nov 8, 2009 10:24:02 PM

  7. From the moment the video began, it is obvious there are a LOT of children watching this take place. You can hear their voices and their reactions. Why would the parents allow their kids to see something that could VERY easily have ended like a Faces Of Death video? I'd like to think that the moment the parents spotted the deer they would have steered their kids away to another enclosure or some other part of the zoo.

    Posted by: Brad | Nov 8, 2009 10:31:12 PM

  8. Cue Elton... it's the ciiiiircle of life.

    Posted by: crispy | Nov 8, 2009 10:45:52 PM

  9. zoos are for assholes.

    Posted by: kristin | Nov 8, 2009 10:59:12 PM

  10. My favorite part was of the morons clapping when it sort of, kinda got away. You can almost invariably pick out the low-iq retards in a crowd by just watching which of them have an uncontrollable impulse to clap for no good reason at all. These are the same people who clap at the end of movies and when firefighters remove cats from trees.

    Posted by: Blake | Nov 8, 2009 11:10:54 PM

  11. OH DEER!

    Eat that, pussy

    Posted by: YOGACHICK | Nov 9, 2009 12:46:31 AM

  12. I have a different opinion than Brad. I don't know why children need to be sheltered from seeing this even if the deer happened to be torn to shreds. It seems like a perfect moment to teach children about what happens in nature. There are lions, there are deer, the lions eat the deer and sometimes the deer get away. If we treat our kids like no-nothing babies who can't understand anything, it seems to me that's how they will turn out as adults.

    Posted by: Aaron | Nov 9, 2009 2:27:32 AM

  13. Exactly, Aaron. This is why my parents dropped me off at a meth den when I was six to toughen me up. Then it was a night locked in a morgue with dead bodies and those pretending to be dead bodies for my "amusement". I can honestly say that I'm not better for it, though. Oh nature...toughen those kids up!

    And it escaped! I'm reminded of an schopenhauer quote that I like.

    "If you are ever in doubt that there is more pain in nature than pleasure, observe one animal consuming another, and ask yourself which of the two is experiencing the more intense sensation."

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 9, 2009 2:43:02 AM

  14. Aaron, I absolutely agree. I only have one minor correction. Most of the time, the deer gets away -- but your point still remains. This is the nature of things; even young children should be taught about it. Indeed, this is one of the first, important lessons -- the fact that life is dangerous, fragile and not always fair. Sheltering children from that fact will only put them at a disadvantage in life, unprepared to deal with it.

    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 9, 2009 4:53:34 AM

  15. This is one situation when I would have prefered to read that the deer was fine and released back into the wild. Who would ever know?

    Posted by: Tom A. | Nov 9, 2009 6:51:45 AM

  16. "The whole ordeal lasted about 45 minutes, according to Baker-Massan, who said it's the first time she remembers a deer getting into a carnivore exhibit."

    I don't think that's true. When I volunteered at the zoo, there was one weekend where a deer got into the cheetah exhibit. It ended...naturally.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Nov 9, 2009 7:54:35 AM

  17. That has to be the most unluckiest dear alive! Po thang :/

    Posted by: J. Bocca | Nov 9, 2009 8:12:21 AM

  18. Perhaps the deer had suicidal tendencies?

    Posted by: John S. Hall | Nov 9, 2009 8:28:42 AM

  19. Charlie nailed it.

    People think of zoos as basically places for gigantic stuffed animals to wander around. The zoos try and educate, but most people just sort of stumble around like cream-cheese zombies.

    Now, this was an educational exhibit. Not necessarily a terrible thing for children to see - harsh, shocking, but not wrong.

    Posted by: Yeek | Nov 9, 2009 9:08:32 AM

  20. That lioness has no idea what to do about killing the deer. No clampdown, no killer instinct. Easily distracted by something or someone (the humans crowd perhaps).

    A pity.

    Posted by: Traveler J | Nov 9, 2009 11:16:39 AM

  21. Lions throughout Africa were rolling on the savanna laughing when this video was shown at the Lions Club meeting.

    Posted by: Dickster | Nov 9, 2009 11:16:54 AM

  22. You folks have no clue how much misery is caused by the suburban deer population. Without predators, they have multiplied without bound. They are vectors for Lyme disease which infects lots of people and causes untold suffering. The deer population needs to be controlled. Children in the northeast cannot simply go out and play in the grass due to the Lyme infected ticks from the deer.

    Posted by: Dustin | Nov 9, 2009 11:34:05 AM

  23. Did they at least put the carcass back into the display to feed the lions? If not, why not?

    Posted by: seattle mike | Nov 9, 2009 11:58:56 AM

  24. I think it's extremely funny that the zoo closed the exhibit and some posters here wanted to shield children from viewing what is REAL LIFE. It's would a been a traumatic event yes, but it is a great parenting opportunity to teach about the realities of life in the animal kingdom - and humans for all that is worth. Stop romanticizing that these animals live in harmony and the wall are there only for decoration.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Nov 9, 2009 12:11:30 PM

  25. It didn't even look like the deer was injured, unless there was more to the "attack" than what we saw. The lion toyed with it a bit, then the deer got away. From what I saw, the deer wasn't injured at all, just exhausted from the encounter and stressed out a bit. Not that bad, life as a wild animal has stress and running away every single day.

    Posted by: Thomas | Nov 9, 2009 1:10:24 PM

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