A tamer was mistreated by a lioness as children and parents fled terror – resulting in calls to ban the use of live animals on shows in Russia.
The animal scratched twice and buried its teeth in trainer Maxim Orlov after quarreling with another lioness in the ring.
The tamer and other circus workers eventually fought off the big cat – called Vega – with bars, but it caused injuries that required hospital treatment.
A pregnant woman reportedly suffered an epileptic fit from shock after the show went into chaos in Russia.
Before Orlov was attacked, two lionesses – Vega and Santa – were seen fighting aggressively in the ring in Moshkovo, Novosbirsk region.
Then Vega turned and lunged at Orlov, seriously injuring his arm and leg, while petrified guests ran away.
Witness Victoria said: “The lionesses got angry.
“As we ran away there was a wild roar from the animals.
“The tamer was attacked.
“A pregnant woman had an epileptic seizure from fright.
“An ambulance has been called.”
Following the attack – the youngest of many in Russia – a ban on live animals in circuses was called for.
After being bandaged in the hospital, the trainer insisted: “Cases like today are very rare, but animals are animals.
“Vega is five years old and has been stubborn since childhood.”
According to the coach, Vega will no longer perform due to the attack. “We’re going to negotiate with the zoos to swap them for a little lion cub,” he said.
He blamed the Ural Traveling Circus for the incident, which did not work during the pandemic.
The footage of the attack has now been shared online. Viewers pointed their fingers at the circus industry to use wild animals for entertainment.
Social media user Evgenia Lukyanova said, “How many similar cases before people stop seeing the suffering of wild animals as entertainment for children?”
Another, named Natalya Amur, said, “This is the torture of wild animals.”