6 min read

Why Do People Keep Jumping Into Zoo Cages?

For most people visiting the zoo, the urge to enter the animals' cages is outweighed by the fear of being mauled to death.

That's not the case for one man at a zoo in the Henan Province in China earlier this week and several others over recent years.

Security footage shows the man as he attempts to do a somersault from a chairlift toward a tiger's den.

YouTube/CCTV+

YouTube/CCTV+

After landing on the safety net, the 40-year-old man gawked at the tiger below, who was noticeably excited by the whole ordeal.

YouTube/CCTV+

YouTube/CCTV+

A zookeeper rushed to assist the daredevil, who explained to his rescuer that he "hadn't done a good somersault," which is fairly obvious to anyone who has seen the video.

While the act of using a bit of gymnastic finesse to enter a zoo animal's enclosure may seem insane, it's more common than you probably think.

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

The footage above is from a similar scenario in 2014. Unlike the previous story, this college student actually managed to fully enter the den after hopping a 20-foot wall at India's Gwalior Zoo, as RT News points out.

With nothing protecting him from tigers other than a nonchalant attitude and a strut that never quit, the young man removed his shirt and calmly paced the den.

One tiger was so frightened, he fled to his cave.

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

The man followed him and began to shout, supposedly demanding that the tiger come out from hiding.

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

After establishing himself, he then fixed his bandana and took a few deep breaths. While others might have attempted to hold back an involuntary bowel movement, this man took a pause to meditate ... live in the moment a bit.

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

YouTube/Cover Asia Press

Both men above walked out of the zoo alive. Others, not so much. And perhaps more importantly, no animals were harmed in the above stories. If anything, the experience took them away from the monotonous routine that is part of life as a zoo animal.

Proud displays of muscles and masculinity aside, it's a bit of a regular occurrence for men and women alike to hop zoo barriers, and usually, the reason is to simply pet the animals.

We don't even have to dig too far into recent memory to find a number of examples from across the globe.

Just a few weeks ago, a man voluntarily entered a polar bear's den at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, resulting in a rubber-bullet shoot-out.

This Halloween an intoxicated Nebraskan woman broke into Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in order to "pet" a tiger.

And in July, one man hopped a barrier at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio in order to stroke cougars' faces through a mesh fence while saying, "Here, kitty kitty kitty."

He took a video of the whole thing.

So why do individuals across the globe continue to do this on a regular basis?

For the man who jumped from the chairlift, it was being overwhelmed by his proximity to the tiger, he told police. His passion overtook him, and he had no choice but to bring himself closer to nature.

And that's a sentiment most people understand. In fact, it's a sentiment that most zoo animals probably understand as well.

After all, humans aren't the only ones to hop those fences.

Check out these penguins' daring escape from the zoo perfectly timed sprint out of the zoo's gates.

Watch a group of rhinos seize the moment in one perfectly timed sprint out of the zoo's gates.

Read the story of the orangutans who dismantled a camera before fleeing their enclosure.