In a horrifying incident, a circus lion savaged a four-year-old girl after breaking through a safety net during a show in Russia.
The big cat pulled the girl into the ring and mauled her during a performance in Uspenskoye village in the Krasnodar region of Russia.
The girl, Ksenia, survived the attack but doctors say she will be 'scarred for life' after suffering serious face and chest injuries.
According to local reports, the child had been waving a small flag during the circus act which may have triggered the big cat.
The lioness can be seen rushing from its trainer - despite being on a leash - and springing on the child.
One account mentioned that the animal broke a flimsy safety netting around the circus ring.
According to reports a member of a medical team which treated her said that there is a bite on her face that goes from ear to chin.
Edgard Zapashny, director of Big Moscow state circus, said both the local circus and the girl's mother were responsible.
Talking to media, he said, “I firmly believe that the blame lies completely with the owner and director of that travelling circus, the lioness's trainer and on the adult who came with the child and let go of her while being in the front row.”
Lions continue to be used for performances in Russian circuses, including many touring troupes that travel from place to place.
The latest incident is likely to lead to increase calls to ban the use of performing predators like lions and bears....