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    Drunken 'Dr Doolittle' has arm savaged by lion

Story filed: 09:53 Tuesday 14th August 2001

A circus lion has bitten a drunken Chilean man who boasted to friends that he could talk to the animals.

Carlos Ferrada said he could prove his special relationship with the beasts and put his arm into a lion's cage.

He was bitten but surgeons in Angol have saved his arm after an operation.

"He is lucky we didn't have to amputate," Dr Oscar Soto told Chilean daily Las Ultimas Noticias. Mr Ferrada will spend the next two weeks in hospital.

When asked why he had risked losing his arm, Ferrada told medical staff: "I just wanted to talk to a lion."

The incident has been the final straw for the authorities in the southern town, who have asked the circus to move on.

"They never fed the lions and they roared all night. They were nothing but trouble," one local resident said.

Another resident, María Mercedes Rojas, said: "Once one of the monkeys escaped and got really violent. It even got into people's houses and we had to chase it off with sticks. I tell you, I'm glad to see the back of that circus."

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