Tiger attacks child, 3, in Russian circus

4th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

A tiger performing in a travelling circus in far eastern Russia grabbed a three-year-old boy in its claws, seriously injuring him, investigators said Wednesday.

The tiger lashed out out at the boy in the city of Blagoveshchensk in the Amur region on the Chinese border on Wednesday afternoon, the Investigative Committe said in a statement on its website.

"The child has been taken in a serious condition to the Amur regional hospital where he is undergoing medical treatment."

Russian television reported that the boy suffered an open head and brain injury and lacerations.

The regional branch of the emergency ministry said the attacker was an Amur tiger, an endangered big cat native to far eastern Russia and China.

The animal apparently attacked the child when he stood too close to have his picture taken, allowing it to claw his head, the Life News website reported.

An emergency services spokesman told the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid that the tiger's trainer had brought the animal out of its cage to pose for the photograph.

Wild animals regularly attack spectators at zoos and circuses in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union, which are frequently run-down and unsafe.

In May 2010, a lion in a zoo in Tambov in southern Russia dragged a four-year-old girl through the bars of its cage and mauled her neck and arm.

© 2012 AFP

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