This Tourist Got Up Close And A Little Too Personal With A Lion

Illinois resident Ted Papastefan, an avid animal enthusiast who has had several encounters with lions in the past, finally got to play with one in South Africa. According to Ted, the "light mauling" was worth it, but what do you think?

Calvin Straw
Created By Calvin Straw
On Apr 10, 2017
Help Translate This Item

Ted Papastefan has had plenty of encounters with lions in his time, but none of them allowed him to play with the animals in the way he's always wanted to, getting up close and personal. His dream finally came true when he found a slightly more lax place to visit them, the Bagamoya Wildlife Estate in South Africa, where he met 19-month-old Napoleon.

I've interacted with many lions and lion cubs in South Africa and Zambia, but this was by far my favorite encounter, because the owners were less restrictive and allowed me to have fun with him.
I've interacted with many lions and lion cubs in South Africa and Zambia, but this was by far my favorite encounter, because the owners were less restrictive and allowed me to have fun with him.
Ted Papastefan, Daily Mail, April 10, 2017

But apparently, this was more than about play for Napoleon, who tried to mate with Papastefan, and things took a suddenly violent turn toward the end of their session.

During my photo shoot, I was getting instructions from Botha, when the lion turned on me. After the interaction, I had several scratches, bruises and a few puncture wounds, but it was well worth it!
During my photo shoot, I was getting instructions from Botha, when the lion turned on me. After the interaction, I had several scratches, bruises and a few puncture wounds, but it was well worth it!
Ted Papastefan, Daily Mail, April 10, 2017

But while Ted may be happy with his scratches and bruises, the video has given several of his friends pretty bad anxiety. But you should watch it for yourself here, before it turns violent:

So, now, what we'd like to know is...

Would you wrestle with a lion?