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Ice-Skating Bear Attacks, Kills Circus Director, Wounds Handler
In another incident where an animal has turned on its captors, an ice-skating bear in a Russian circus troupe attacked his handlers, killing one and wounding another. Sky News reported Thursday that a bear attacked 25-year-old Dmitri...
According to the arena director, Kurmangazy Isanayev, the bear was dragged away during the attack from the fallen Potapov. Exits were closed off to the arena until emergency services could arrive and control the situation.
It is unclear why the bear rounded and attacked the circus director. The bear was in rehearsal and had on ice skates when police arrived and shot the bear, killing it.
According to Sky News, there are over 3,000 animals in Russia circuses, all of which are unprotected by any form of animal cruelty laws. But as the Times Online notes, animal attacks are rare in the circuses. Bears are often trained to wear skates in the Russian circuses. They are also trained to play ice hockey.
Animal attacks sometimes seemingly occur out of nowhere, when a usually somewhat docile animal suddenly decides to turn on its captors. Knowing exactly why animals commit such acts can sometimes be traced to poor treatment, cruelty (past and immediate), irritability due to a wound or internal problems, hunger, and/or fear. But most animals attack their owners, trainers, and/or handlers because the aforementioned become careless and forget that, despite all their behavioral training, they are still wild animals.
A 37-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, Kelly Ann Walz, was killed by her pet black bear earlier this month when she entered its cage to feed the bear and clean its cage. The 350-pound black bear turned on her when she attempted to distract it with food. It mauled her until a neighbor arrived to shoot and kill the bear. Walz had a permit to keep the bear and other wild animals on her property. She had had the black bear since 2000.
A 32-year-old Oklahoma animal sanctuary handler, Peter Getz, was mauled to death last October by a 1000-pound liger -- a lion cross-bred with a tiger -- when he entered its cage to feed it. Jeff Corwin of Animal Planet said at the time that Getz broke the cardinal rule of dealing with wild animals: Never enter their cages while they're feeding.