Terrifying moment circus lion pounces on little girl through a protective cage
A happy visit to the circus turned into a nightmare when a lion savaged a child.
A horrifying video was posted on YouTube/Abanoub Samy on October 29, 2018. The footage shows a lioness performing in a circus in Uspenskoye village in the Krasnodar region of Russia.
At first, everything seems to be normal. The animals are performing behind a safety net and seem to be under the handler's control.
In a fraction of a second, chaos ensued when the lioness escaped her handler's control and made for the safety net.
THE HUGE PREDATOR MAULS A LITTLE GIRL
Suddenly the lioness can be seen dragging her handler behind her as she pounces on the safety net, and drags a child into the ring.
The little girl, later identified as Ksenia, was savaged by the animal before the handlers managed to pull her off the child.
FOUR YEAR OLD WAS TOO CLOSE TO THE NET
Eyewitnesses said that Ksenia's mother had allowed the child to get close to the safety net and to wave a banner. It was probably this which caught the lioness' attention and triggered her attack.
THE CHILD IS "SCARRED FOR LIFE"
Valentina Pavlova, a member of the medical team which treated Ksenia at the Central Republican Hospital in Krasnodar said that the little girl had sustained serious injuries to her face and to her chest:
"There is a bite on her face that goes from ear to chin."
STILL IN INTENSIVE CARE BUT OUT OF DANGER
Ksenia is still in the hospital's intensive care unit, but doctors have declared that she is stable, and out of danger.
This incident has once again raised the debate regarding the use of animals in circuses. Many European circuses no longer feature animals, but these are a traditional part of Russian circuses, who have been reluctant to give up their animal acts.
Edgard Zapashny, director of Big Moscow state circus, attributes the blame for the horrific incident to the local circus and the girl's mother:
'I firmly believe that the blame lies completely with the owner and director of that travelling circus, the lioness's trainer and on the adult who came with the child and let go of her while being in the front row.'
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ANOTHER RUSSIAN CIRCUS UNDER FIRE OVER ANIMAL ACT
Another incident in a Russian Circus involving a big cat is bringing animal acts into the limelight.
A tigress collapsed in a circus ring seconds after jumping through rings of fire as part of a circus act in Magnitogorsk, Russia. The six-year-old tigress called Zena belongs to circus artists Artur and Karina Bagdasarov.
The Bagdasarovs are a brother and sister team who use 6 tigers in their act. When Zena collapsed in convulsions, Artur dragged the animal to the ringside by her tail where buckets of water were poured over the unconscious tigress.
Some people in the audience reported seeing Artur use a stun gun on the unresponsive animal, which he vehemently denies.
The Bagdasarovs have denied claims of animal cruelty and defended their actions, saying they feared the other five tigers would turn on Zena and tear her apart.
Artur Bagdasarov said he and his sister Karina were worried the six other tigers would attack the fallen animal at the circus in Magnitogorsk, Russia.
“Artur did his best to bring Zena back to senses and he did all the right things - he touched her reflexive zones, he poured water on her. The main thing was to stop other animals from attacking. For them a weak animal is a target, it is an order to kill."
The Bagdasarovs, the third generation of a famous circus family, have been faced with accusations of animal cruelty, and Russian social media has been extolling audiences to stay away from circuses with animal acts.