A haunting photo has captured the moment before a lion mauled a woman in the Ukraine.
Olga Solomina, 46, was visiting the Taygan safari park in Crimea when she was told she could step into the lions' enclosure to pose for pictures.
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All was well until she placed her hand on the male lion's mane, provoking the creature into mauling her. The big cat seized her arm in his jaws and tried to drag her away "like a rag doll", she told Metro.
"The other lions jumped to their feet. I closed my eyes in fear waiting to be torn apart by the pride. It lasted several seconds that felt like eternity for me."
Fortunately for Ms Solomina, zoo director Oleg Zubkov was nearby enough to chase the lion away and drive her to safety.
However she says he refused to call an ambulance, instead ordering a vet to treat her injuries and offering her alcohol to soothe her pain.
She was eventually taken to hospital the following day, having contracted a serious infection from the untreated lion bite. She had surgery and her condition improved, but it's still unknown if she will ever regain full use of her arm.
After the accident, Ms Solomina demanded 1,000,000 RUB (NZ$23,150) from the safari park as compensation for her ordeal.
Mr Zubkov has refused, saying the woman was drunk and provoked the attack, and that she signed a disclaimer before entering the lions' enclosure.