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Horrifying moment tiger COLLAPSES in convulsions in circus ring – fears for animal safety

The performing six-year-old big cat called Zena keeled over sparking massive concern for her safety and that of spectators by her brother and sister handlers Artur and Karina Bagdasarov.

With a large crowd in the Russian circus in Magnitogorsk, Mr Bagdasarov said he feared a bloodbath from the other tigers attacking the fallen animal.

He has defended his actions caught on video of pulling the fallen tigress by the tail away from the edge of the ring, and emptying buckets of water on the Siberian big cats while he and Ms Bagdasarov cracked long sticks used as whups to keep the other six performing tigers from coming close.

Amid an online outcry with the handlers branded “sadists”, he said there was a risk of a giant cat fight leading to carnage in the circus.

Amur or Siberian tigers are the world’s largest big cats native to the far east of Russia.

The famous Russian troupe which travel around the ex-USSR denied they had used a stun gun on the tigress – as some online comments claimed – insisting the animal had suddenly collapsed in convulsions for unknown reasons, and in doing so sparked an emergency.

Ms Bagdasarov said: “Artur did his best to bring Zena back to senses and he did all the right things – he touched her reflexive zones, he poured water on her.

“The main thing was to stop other animals from attacking. For them a weak animal is a target, it is an order to kill.

Promo shot of Bagdasarov tiger circus

Bagdasarov tiger circus show (Image: EAST2WEST NEWS)

If we had not stopped them, it would have ended with a bloody fight. And nobody knows who would have been alive after that

Ms Bagdasarov

“If we had not stopped them, it would have ended with a bloody fight. And nobody knows who would have been alive after that.”

The video shows how the tigress gradually came round after what may have been an “epileptic fit”.

Mr Bagdasarov said he had no option but to pull her by the tail.

He said: “I had to drag the animal away from the wire fence, she was about to fall between the stage and the wire.

The tiger is splashed with water as it collapses

The tiger is splashed with water as it collapses (Image: EAST2WEST NEWS)

“I dragged her to a safe place where there were no other tigers around.

“Any other tiger could have attacked her when she was so weak.

“Karina was controlling six animals so they did not do any harm to the tigress.

“So the tigress was away from spectators and away from other tigers.

“Why the tail? What else could I drag her by?

“She has claws on her paws. She is not a soft cat.

Tiger collapsing

It was feared a bloodbath from the other tigers attacking the fallen animal (Image: EAST2WEST NEWS)

“I could not lift the whole tiger. When I watched this video, I realised that I am a healthy man, she weighs 200 kg.

“I was only shocked that I managed to drag her… What if I had taken her away from the stage?

“She would have recovered there and what would I do next?

“As soon as she recovered she became a normal tiger, with the same claws and teeth.

“If I had dragged her to the cage, other tigers would have run inside the cage too, and she could have been torn to pieces.”

Siberian Tiger in the wild

Amur or Siberian tigers are the world’s largest big cats native to the far east of Russia (Image: GETTY)

He added: “It was an emergency situation for all of us. It was a shock.

“We do not have many people, we have just two behind the wire fence…

“We usually work with a water cannon. It is needed to quickly bring the animal back to senses.”

He was shouting for aides to bring water.

He said: “We had to run and bring buckets.

“I ran around asking to switch off the sound.

“As soon as it became quiet and water was brought, she woke up.

“The main thing that everything was done to help her recover.

“We don’t know yet what happened to her.”

Spectators clapped as it stood up and soon walked from the ring.

Tiger in the wild

A Siberian Tiger in the wild (Image: GETTY)

But watchers also said there had been cruel laughter from onlookers.

Larissa, who took her two children to the circus said: “When the tiger was convulsing, spectators laughed.

“When the animal defecated, it became clear it was an attack of an illness.

“I have seen the same thing with a dog. Both animal trainers behaved normally, the sister was watching the other animals.

“The brother controlled everything and helped the tigress.

“There was no stun gun. Artur beat his whip at the floor to calm down other animals.

“It was clear that Bagdasarov was anxious. He shouted something to his assistants, he swore.

“And when the tigress woke up, he said – ‘all is ok, stand up, stand up my girl’.”

Ms Bagdasarov – who with her brother is the third generation of a famous Russian circus dynasty – said: “We did not have a stun gun. We will sue those who claim we did.”

She said: “These things happen to animals. Maybe the blood sugar level dropped.

“Perhaps it was blood pressure attack, maybe hormones.

“We have already called the vets and blood test was taken.

“Our vet is coming from Moscow soon, he will scan Zena’s liver and kidneys.”

Advertisement for Bagdasarov show in Magnirogorsk

Advertisement for Bagdasarov show in Magnirogorsk (Image: EAST2WEST NEWS)

But the animal appeared to be recovering and is “eating well” ahead of a new performance on Sunday.

The Russian social media carried vitriolic criticism.

One critic said: “Please ignore any circuses with animals. These ‘trainers’ are sadists. Animals are very rare in circuses abroad.”

A woman called Irina hit out: “It is just a horror.”

A man said: “You pulled her tail. Shall we pull you the same way?”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1022493/Horrifying-moment-tiger-COLLAPSES-in-convulsions-in-circus-ring-handlers-defend-actions

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