Now THAT'S a claws encounter: Moment a brave girl, 3, faces down angry lion lashing out inches from her face

By GRAHAM SMITH

Friendly: Brave Sofia Walker eyeballs a furious lion at Wellington Zoo in New Zealand last week

Huffing and puffing, his nostrils flaring in rage, this is the moment a lion viciously lashes out at a three-year-old girl.
But brave Sofia Walker refuses to back down and instead stares intently at the furious big cat just inches away.
The unlikely showdown took place at Wellington Zoo in New Zealand last week.
Fortunately for Sofia, a thick pane of safety glass stood between her and Malik, the seven-year-old lion so incensed by her gall.

Surprised: The three-year-old girl briefly recoils as the lion, Malik, lashes out in anger

The incredible moment was captured on camera by Sofia's father Julian Walker.
At one point, the fascinated little girl turns to her parents and asks, 'What's he telling me?'
'I think he's telling you to move away, Sofia,' a woman responds off camera. 'He wants to eat his food.'
But Sofia remained as transfixed with the animal as he was with her and the battle of wills continued.

Curious: Following the lion's first assault, the small girl turned to ask her mother what he was trying to tell her

Then, once more unable to hold in his frustration, Malik pounced for a second time, wildly swiping his front paws against the glass as he stood on his hind legs.
Paul Hatton, the zoo's team leader of carnivores and primates, told the New Zealand Herald: 'There were a couple of moments where she was a little bit surprised, which is fair enough completely, but she didn't seem too bothered.
'He's massive and you sometimes forget how big he is until you see a picture of him right up next to a small child. He's a big character.'

Protected: The glass separating girl from beast is 33mm thick - not even a sledgehammer could break it

source: dailymail

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