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WATCH screaming audience members flee as Russian circus bear mauls trainer in chilling attack

WATCH screaming audience members flee as Russian circus bear mauls trainer in chilling attack
Russian circus-goers had a frightening surprise when a trained brown bear turned on its handler, mauling the coach and pinning him to the floor as terrified audience members fled in panic.

Dramatic footage surfaced online after the attack on Wednesday in the town of Olonets in northwestern Russia, showing the moment the trainers lost control of the animal. Soon after pushing a wheelbarrow across the stage as part of the show, the bear suddenly latched onto his handler, dragging him to the ground.

With no barriers between the audience and the stage, after a moment of shock, people scrambled to gather their children and belongings to flee the venue.

An assistant rushed to assist the trainer, kicking the animal in an attempt to stop the attack, but the bear did not appear to be fazed. It was eventually subdued by electric shock, one witness told Gazeta.ru.

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the trainer, bear, or bystanders, thanks in part to the fact that the animal was wearing a muzzle.

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The director of the circus told Gazeta.ru that while neither the trainer nor the animal were hurt, the bear routine would no longer be part of the show. He appeared to blame the incident on the circus-goers, who he said violated the rules by using camera flashes during the performance.

Edgard Zapashny, famed Russian ringmaster and director of the Zapashny Brothers & Great Moscow Circus, said that attacks like this are not entirely out of the norm, and human error is usually part of the equation.

“An animal is an animal, they attack and will attack. This is normal,” Zapashny told Russia’s National News Service. “But under each attack there is a certain error of the person himself, which means that he did not see something, could not get ahead of the animal’s thought, did not have time to react, to stop the attack.”

Some work will probably be done on the mistakes, and the trainer will draw conclusions for himself, but I know for sure that neither the bear nor the person were injured in this attack.

Zapashny, however, noted that the bear appeared “good, big” and “plump,” suggesting it was well fed and in good health.

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A criminal probe has been opened into the incident to determine whether the circus offered “unsafe services,” according to Interfax, though live animal performances are legal in Russia, even without a barrier separating audience and stage as long as the animal is muzzled.

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