Okay, so the incident at Toronto Zoo last month - the polar bear selfies - was just typical teenage stupidity (not saying you don't see it in adults, either). And yeah, there was the drunk woman in the elephant exhibit at Denver last year, but again, she was drunk. This one just smacks of mental illness... at least I hope that that's the cause.
It never ceases to amaze me how little common sense people display towards zoo animals. Just because the animal is born and raised in captivity does not mean it's a pet... especially if it's a large carnivore capable of killing you with one bite!
Occasionally, acts like this - failure to respect the zoo's safety measures - end in tragedy. In other cases, the perpetrator escapes unharmed, which - while the preferred outcome - only serves to encourage other idiots in the future.
On a side note, it's great to see that other zoo visitors acted quickly to put a stop to this lunatic's antics. They were able to call zoo staff via an emergency hotline number posted around the zoo. A worthwhile idea, I think, for any zoo that doesn't have one.
Photo from WMC Action News 5