Toddler stares down angry lion in global hit

A Wellington toddler's close encounter with a lion has captivated audiences around the world.

Bloggers and news sites have compared the video of three-year-old Sofia Walker facing the giant cat to a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia, praising the little girl for her courage.

The footage shows the toddler standing before Wellington's Zoo's male lion Malik, as he claws at thick glass to try to scare her away from his food.

Sofia, unfazed, continues to stand on the viewing platform, pausing only to ask her mother a question.

"What's he telling me, mama?" Sofia asks.

Her mother replies "He's telling you to get down."

The video, posted on January 4, has been seen around the world.

It has run on the Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Telegraph, The Sun, and the New York Daily News, among others.
Sofia's father Julian Walker said the latest email he had received was from the Ellen DeGeneres show, which wanted to use the clip.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," Mr Walker said.

"I think if you search now you'll find 57 news sites that have the video. We've had emails from Germany, Sweden, and the US are just picking up on it now."


Mr Walker said the family had been surprised at some of the negative feedback, both about the zoo and his daughter, but were trying to ignore it.

"There's also been some really lovely comments, the ones saying it's a scene reminiscent of Lucy and [the talking lion] Aslan from Narnia."

Mr Walker said Sofia did not really understand what was going on, although he cut out some newspaper articles to show her.

"She just says, 'Oh look that's me in the paper' but she doesn't really get it.

"I guess that's why it was so popular, she was just so unaware. It would have been totally different if she was banging on the glass but she was just standing there."

Since the original story ran on the and Dominion Post websites, the video has received more than 95,000 hits.

Before that, it had only 300 views.

Mr Walker said he was grateful the video had helped Wellington Zoo get publicity.

The family have an annual membership, which has been renewed as a thank you.

© Fairfax NZ News

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