A pregnant circus performer was left bloodied and bruised after being mauled by a raging brown bear during a show in Russia’s western city of Oryol
A raging brown bear attacked a pregnant trainer in front of screaming children and their parents at a Russian circus.
The woman wearing a bright blue dress was floored by the performing predator as two men fought with the animal to drag it clear.
A witness said the male bear did not back off despite “blows with a whip”.
The incident came during an act in the ring involving two bears and two trainers at the crowded circus.
The wounded trainer – who suffered cuts and bruises, and said her unborn child was not harmed – claimed later that the bear may have attacked her because she was pregnant.
The bloodied circus performer was rushed to hospital by ambulance after the terrifying incident in Oryol.
“I literally have two scratches and a slight bruise on my leg,” she said. “With the animal, too, everything is fine, and my baby, all is normal.”
The unnamed trainer said: “Perhaps it was jealousy to some extent, since I am pregnant. There can be many nuances.
“I will, of course, deal with this incident with more experienced colleagues. At the moment, the bear behaves to me the same way as usual.
“It behaves affectionately and fondly again as if nothing happened.”
One report said the trainer and bear had “hugged and made up” after the attack.
Locals said they had seen the bear in a cage before the show in an agitated disturbed state.
“The same predator attacked one of the employees and wanted to escape,” reported FAN. Passersby said it was in a cage in the backyard and was acting restlessly.”
One of several performing bears, the attacker has been barred from performances for now.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a probe into the incident.
“The investigation is undertaking a set of measures to establish all the circumstances of the incident, interviewing circus employees, and witnesses,” said a source.
Russia has seen several shocking circus incidents involving performing animals in recent months.
Irina Novozhilova, of animal rights group VITA, has called for the prohibition of all circuses with live animals, which remain popular across Russia.
“No circus conditions will be humane for one simple reason,” she said. “Training goes hand in hand with cruelty….
“Circuses are always cruel beyond limits. And circuses with animals should be banned.”