Moments earlier, the leopard called Loki had been taken out of the arena by its woman tamer after appearing ‘aggressive’. Picture: Danil Kolosov
Angry big cat rushed at Lyubov Yakovleva, 53, tearing flesh from her arm with its teeth.
The woman struggled to protect her friend’s son Tim (Timofey), her godson, who she had taken to see the travelling circus show in Bogotol, Krasnoyarsk region.
Moments earlier, the leopard called Loki had been taken out of the arena by its woman tamer after appearing ‘aggressive’. When it came back, it immediately rushed towards the boy and his godmother.
‘Suddenly he jumped in front of my nose, I only had time to cover Tim,’ said Lyubov, who saved the child from a possibly fatal attack. The beast grabbed me with its teeth, and began to tear me up. I shrinked. What happened next, I don’t remember except like everyone else we rushed for the door.’
Lyubov Yakovleva, 53, struggled to protect her friend’s son Tim (Timofey), her godson. Picture: The Siberian Times
Circus staff had pulled the leopard away from the woman and boy, and were also wounded. A police car then rushed her to hospital. ‘I felt weak and nauseous,’ she said.
The boy’s mother Oksana Uskova was also with them, and said: ‘Doctors put in 10 stitches and her tendon was bitten all the way through, not to mention the stress and consequences in the future… There was no safety, no fencing. We sat in the 6th row, but the animal was there in three seconds. This fear and horror still is in my eyes.’
She added: ‘No one helped us. We went outside, and were waiting for the ambulance there. But it took so long the traffic police gave us a lift to the hospital. As we got to their car, she [Lyubov] fainted. She lost a lot of blood. There was blood everywhere. ‘
Oksana Uskova with her son Timofey pictured in 2014 in Bogotol. Pictures: The Siberian Times
Later Lyubov said: ‘Thank God that I’m 53, and could protect my little godson.
‘Almost half of the spectators were kids without parents. To the right from me was a little boy, I asked him – ‘Why you are alone?’ He said: ‘My father had no money for his ticket, and he is waiting for me outside. If the animal had attacked him, who would have protected the child?
‘I’m in hospital now, my hand doesn’t move properly. And doctors do not give any forecasts.’ She vowed to sue the circus, demanding 250,000 roubles ($4,100) plus medical expenses.
Leopard Loki pictured as it takes part in the show of the travelling circus Aurora. Pictures: Circus Aurora, Danil Kolosov, Natalia Norvatova
‘They told me: ‘Do you want to destroy us with this?’ I responded: ‘Do you think I want to be in hospital because of your negligence?’ I don’t care about the compensation, I want to stop this lawlessness.’
She added: ‘I do not blame the animal – no way. I blame only the organisers. I was worried about the leopard, and asked the circus staff, how it is. They told all is OK, it is in cage now.’