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6 Oct, 2010 10:37

Lion attacks tamer at circus, sent to zoo

Lion attacks tamer at circus, sent to zoo

The lion performance, one of the most spectacular at the circus in the Ukrainian city of Lvov, recently nearly ended in tragedy.

The incident occurred on Saturday when Perseus, the star lion of the troupe – called Persik for short – refused to obey its tamer. First, the animal refused to perform a trick and then attacked the man.

Perseus, followed by another lion, attacked tamer Aleksey Pinko twice. To help the poor man out, assistants rushed on stage and tried to stop the animals with sticks and cold water.

”We were trying to calm them with a high-pressure hose, using sticks and maces that trainers have, and tridents which are used in such emergency situations,” a circus worker told Russia 24 TV channel.

Although management of the circus claimed there was no panic among spectators, video footage shows quite the opposite. People were screaming, emptying their seats and clamoring for the exits.

The aggressive lion seriously injured Pinko’s leg and arm and also scratched his stomach. Now the trainer, who has had to undergo surgery, is receiving hospital treatment with his condition listed as “moderate severity.”

”Doctors observe positive response to the treatment,” Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted a hospital doctor as saying. “No inflammatory or abscess process is present.”

According to TCH.ua information source, the lion will now be taken to the zoo.

Aleksey Pinko’s wife, Veronika Pinko, also an animal trainer, said that the incident has turned into a double tragedy for the troupe.

”First, my husband was injured in the lion attack,” she told TCH.ua. “Second, we have lost an artist, one of the best lions in our performance.”

Veronika Pinko said the animal has been aggressive lately and fought for leadership against her husband.

”Perseus, six years old, is an adult male who started to feel his strength in the last two years,” she told Russia 24. “He has always tried to compete with my husband and tried to prove that he is stronger and more important.”

Circus workers say that the lion does not understand what he has done and is looking forward to his trainer’s arrival, TCH.ua reports.

For the time being the circus has suspended its lion performances.