Horrified children looked on as a performing brown bear attacked its trainer in a circus.
The beast clawed at the woman’s legs and two other trainers had to pull it away as she struggled to pull herself free before falling helplessly in the ring in apparent pain.
The terrifying incident took place in Berezovsky, Kemerovo region, Russia this week and has left locals in utter shock.
The bear – dressed in a hat and glittering scarf – was made to continue performing despite the horrifying attack – and the set upon the trainer again as she dangled a hoop in front of the animal.
Again, a male trainer intervened to pull the beast away.
Some local reports say there was a third attack but still the show did not stop.
The blonde trainer did not seek medical help after the attack, say reports.
The circus is famed for dressing bears in human clothes with some wearing tutus and “prides itself on humane training of the animals”.
The Russian Investigative Committee is studying the fracas on Saturday to check whether there were safety breaches during the performance when there was no fence or barrier with spectators.
The Harlequin Travelling Circus later denied there had been an attack, despite the video evidence.
A spokesman told Mash Siberia: “There was no incident whatsoever.
“Simply speaking, bears are now in mating season.”
The circus promises “an unforgettable large-scale performance with a wide variety of animals” to “surprise every city in Russia”.
Its website says: “The artists present a symbiosis of training, clownery and high-class stunts in the circus ring.”
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Tickets were priced at 500 roubles or £4.90.
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.”
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