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Lions and tigers, oh, yes! Travelers flock to controversial petting zoo

There is a petting zoo that is gaining international attention. After all, this one, located near Buenos Aires, Argentina, let's you get up close and personal with more than goats, pigs and ponies. Some say, a little too personal.

The Lujan Zoo in Argentina is not your typical petting zoo; it allows zoo-goers to get up close and very personal with exotic animals.
Lujan Zoo

The L.A. Times reports that the Lujan Zoo allows its guests to touch, ride and walk among wild animals, including lions and tigers, which have been known to maim and kill in traditional zoos when spectators or trainers got too close.

According to a blurb on Trip Advisor, the zoo opened November 24, 1994. There is an extensive description written, in Spanish, by the owner.

As you can see by pictures posted on, the zoo features people, adults and children, milling around what appear to be docile lions and tigers. One even shows a big bear giving a zoo-goer a big, sloppy smooch!

According to Yahoo News, the wildlife protection organization Born Free USA, which tracks exotic-animal incidents in the United States, says that getting close to these animals risky. Will Travers of Born Free shared this with Yahoo:

Wildlife belongs in the wild. Evidence from incidents nationwide in America and more broadly in other countries shows conclusively that wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears, whether bred in captivity or taken from the wild, maintain their inner — and potentially dangerous — 'wildness.' Allowing any close contact with wild animals such as these is like playing Russian roulette.

So far, no reports of attacks have been reported at the Lujan Zoo in its 20-plus years in operation.

That's not the case at zoos elsewhere, including the United States, where animals don't roam freely. One tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, for instance, attacked three people within five years, killing one of them.

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