The young girl reportedly approached the flimsy fence while waving a small banner in the air, which prompted a predatory response from the lion. The lion pulled the girl into the ring before trainers were able to separate them.
Thankfully the little girl is safe and in stable condition, but unfortunately it’s quite common for big cats or other animals used in circuses to attack other animals in the ring, maul trainers or even go after audience members. A lion’s instincts coupled with the stress of performing can easily become a tragedy, Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders international (ADI), told The Dodo.
“Such incidents are a regular occurrence in circuses worldwide, and there have been hundreds of reported attacks and escapes to date,” Creamer said. “Given their compromised and often abusive lives, animals in circuses can go out of control at any moment.”
Warning: Footage of the incident is not graphic but may be upsetting to some.