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Screams as Circus Bear Attacks Its Trainer

Performance was taking place in Olonets, Russia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2019 8:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Spectators at a Russian circus performance got more than they bargained for this week when a bear abruptly attacked its trainer during the show. NBC News and the AP report the incident took place in Olonets on Wednesday, during what appeared to be a calm scene up until the moment of the attack. The Telegraph has video, which shows the bear slowly pushing a wheelbarrow toward its handler as music plays in the background. The handler comes around to the bear's side of the wheelbarrow, and a few seconds after that, the animal jumps on the man, knocking him to the ground. Another trainer starts kicking the bear, who remains on top of his handler, while screams are heard and people begin fleeing.

"A panic started. Everyone grabbed their kids and started running," one witness says. CNN notes the bear was muzzled, but there was no barrier between the show floor and the audience seats. It's not shown in the video, but a Russian news site says the bear proceeded to wander into the audience but was then stunned with an electric shock device and subdued, per NBC. Via CNN, TASS reports no one in the crowd was hurt, nor was the handler. "We decided to part with the artist, and the act will be removed from the program," a circus rep says, noting that the handler owns the bear. "There is nothing serious, the artist is all right, the bear is all right, nobody killed the bear because the animal is not to blame." The AP notes a criminal probe related to the alleged provision of unsafe services has been started. (Read more bears stories.)

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