A lioness seen in an enclosure at a travelling tent circus.
Dmitry Rogulin\TASS via Getty Images
  • A video shows a lioness attacking her tamer during a circus performance in Novosibirsk, Russia.
  • The attack horrified the audience and reportedly made a pregnant woman suffer an epileptic seizure.
  • The tamer survived the attack, telling local media: "Animals are animals."
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A video shows the moment a lioness attacked her trainer during a live circus performance in Russia on Saturday, prompting horrified audience members to evacuate the venue.

The trainer, identified as Maxim Orlov, survived the attack but had to be rushed to hospital after suffering from injuries to his legs and arms.

The attack, which occurred in the Novosibirsk region, happened after the lioness, called Vega, started scrapping with another lioness during the performance.

The video shows the two lions rolling on the floor when Vega suddenly jumps up and pounces on Orlov, who was standing behind them. Orlov and other circus staff try to use poles to fend off the big cat as it continues to claw at the trainer.

"The lionesses went berserk. When we ran away, there was a wild roar from the animals," one witness said, according to the DailyStar.

Watch the moment below:

The video also shows children and their parents fleeing the venue as the attack unfolds. According to the DailyMail, a pregnant woman who was in the audience suffered an epileptic seizure out of shock.

After the incident, Orlov confirmed he would find a new home for Vega and blamed the attack on the circus for not working during the pandemic.

"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 said according to the DailyMail. "Cases such as today are very rare, but animals are animals."

Many European countries have banned the use of animals in circuses, however, Russia still clings to the tradition.

In 2017, the state-run company Rosgostsirk that manages more than 40 circuses across the country received 1.3 billion rubles (R280 million) in state aid, Moscow Times reported.

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