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A lioness savaged her tamer during a live circus show sparking a panicked evacuation.
Trainer Maxim Orlov was rushed to hospital after being attacked by the beast ahead of a performance in front of a crowd of families on Saturday.
Russian Orlov was clawed twice by the lioness which also sank her teeth into him, inflicting nasty arm and leg wounds needing urgent medical attention.
Members of the audience also suffered fleeing the horror scene with one pregnant woman reportedly suffering an epileptic seizure out of shock.
Terrified children and their parents bolted from the tent as the circus' two lionesses went "berserk" and began brawling with each other in the ring.
Witness Viktoria said: “The lionesses went berserk. When we ran away, there was a wild roar from the animals. The tamer was attacked.
“A pregnant woman had an epileptic seizure from fright. An ambulance was called.”
Trainer Maxim Orlov and other circus staff used poles in an attempt to fend off Vega the big cat who had been scrapping with fellow lioness Santa.
But in a wild frenzy the lioness swiped out and bit Orlov who was taken to hospital in the Moshkovo, Novosibirsk region of Russia.
Since the attack, which is only the latest of many in Russia, there have been renewed calls for a ban on live animals in circuses.
The circus has agreed that Vega for one will not perform for them again and are now looking at a potential new home for her.
After being bandaged up in hospital, Orlov insisted: "Cases such as today are very rare, but animals are animals.
“Vega is five years old and has been wayward since childhood. We will negotiate with the zoos to exchange her for a little lion cub.”
He blamed the attack on the Ural Travelling Circus not working during the pandemic.
Commenter Evgenia Lukyanova said: “How many similar cases before people stop seeing the suffering of wild animals as entertainment for children?”
Natalya Amur said: “This is torture of wild animals.”
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