A four-year-old girl has fallen into a coma after being attacked by a lioness during a circus performance in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region last week, the girl’s father told local media.
The circus holds a prestigious place in Russian national culture, with many acts traditionally involving circus animals. Animal rights activists in Russia have argued that circus animals are often mistreated.
The girl was mauled by a lioness while sitting in the front row during a live circus performance. The child was admitted with deep wounds to a local hospital where she underwent a medical operation.
“The operation was completed, but the child remains in a coma. Extensive wounds. Ripped skin. The rest will be known after shes comes out of the coma,” the girl’s father was cited as saying by the local Kuban24 news website.
A video of the attack posted on social media shows the lioness jumping into the crowd and dragging the girl into the ring.
After the incident, the director of the circus was detained by police and given two months of house arrests.
“I will definitely keep in touch with the girl’s parents, we will definitely help,” the director told local media, describing the incident as a tragic coincidence.