Deer fatally injured after jumping into lion's den

By Martin Weil
Monday, November 9, 2009; 1:25 PM

A deer was fatally injured Sunday after jumping into a lion enclosure at the National Zoo, as visitors looked on.

The incident, which a zoo spokeswoman described as highly unusual, occurred about 2:50 p.m. as spectators lined a retaining wall of an enclosure that contained two female lions.

Spectators watched as the deer eluded the much larger lions, before it reached temporary safety in a moat at the edge of the outdoor enclosure.

The incident was captured on video and posted to YouTube.

However, after the animal was rescued by zoo personnel, "it was pretty evident that the deer would not survive," and it was euthanized, said zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson.

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