A woman has been attacked by a runaway circus puma while queuing to buy tickets for the show.
The Dovgalyuk Dynasty circus was performing in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk when a puma escaped from its cage and was seen roaming the car park last week.
Diana, 15, told Krasnoyarsk’s Channel 7 TV that she and her family were still parking their car when they saw the big cat attack a woman who was waiting in line to buy her ticket.
“The puma jumped on the girl’s back from behind and tore her winter coat,” Diana told the channel.
“We all screamed and the cat retreated.”
The woman was shocked but unharmed, reports The Siberian Times.
A circus spokesman told the newspaper that a “very big sum of money” had been paid in compensation to the woman, in return for not going to court.
The spokesman said the puma was young, female and “not dangerous”. She was recaptured within an hour of the attack.
Advertising for the circus promised: “unforgettable meetings with a Canadian puma, Himalayan bear, Paraguayan anaconda, monkeys, royal poodles and peacock pigeons”.
Countries including Austria, Singapore and the Netherlands – but not Australia – have banned circuses from using animals in their performances.
New South Wales RSPCA veterinary medical officer Jade Norris told the ABC that while the RSPCA carries out welfare checks on performing animals, it didn’t endorse their use.
“A circus cannot meet the physical, behavioural and social needs of exotic animals,” she said.
“There are inherent welfare problems associated with that environment.”