Bystanders stood shocked as the puma frantically leapt on the girl's back from behind, tearing her heavy coat. (The fact that she was wearing one prevented what could have been much more serious injuries.)
When the puma heard people screaming she got scared and retreated. "The puma wasn’t too big," Diana said. "It was a young animal."
Within the hour, the puma was corralled and back in her cage. While a spokesperson for the circus insisted that the puma was not dangerous, the circus paid the victim of the attack an undisclosed sum of money.
It would seem that things could go back to business as usual — but the incident offers a glimpse of the hazards and heartbreak involved in forcing wild animals into submission for show. The puma is regularly forced to jump through flaming hoops for her portion of the performance, a stress-inducing exercise that only aggravates and scares her.