The moment a lion attacked a circus performer has been caught on video.
Children screamed in horror as the big cat overpowered and clawed at Egyptian Lion Trainer Hamada Kouta, 32, while touring Lugansk near Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.
Terrifying moment circus lion attacks trainer leaping onto him and sinking its teeth and claws in as kids scream
Hamada Kouta, 32, a lion trainer who works in eastern Europe, was overpowered by the predator during a show in Ukraine#ukraine #attack #Lion pic.twitter.com/EP5NcU92et
— 60minutesnews (@60minutesnews1) April 4, 2019
Kouta survived the mauling after fighting off the lion, which suddenly changed direction and ran back to its cage.
In a video to his fans, he admitted he was at fault for the attack on March 23 and said how he considered the wild animals to be his children.
“When an animal attacks a trainer, it is 99 percent the trainer’s mistake,” Kouta said in the video uploaded on April 3. “They are my children, so I know anything can happen but it will never end with death because they are my children. I know them and I trust them more than I trust people.”
Kouta said he was fine despite the injuries to his back, arm, and leg.
“It was alright, I calmed down the spectators and we went on,” he said.
“Every scar is an experience … but there is a red line, if you step over—it may go wrong way,” he told The Sun.
While he was thankful that the lion did not attack his neck, he admitted the wounds are very painful.
He confirmed two claws left scars on his leg. He also has a tooth mark on his leg measuring 1.5 inches deep.
“Of course, I became lame. It hurts everywhere because these are teeth,” he said. “One tooth was inside the muscle, right there, and it is serious, and down it is serious too but it is okay.”
A shocked mother who saw the attack with her two children said she felt almost as though her “heart stopped” when the lion jumped on Kouta, who trains a total of 10 big cats.
The trainer said the lion immediately released him and he returned all of the large cats to their cages after the attack.
“I calmly called them back, because there were children in the audience,” he said. “Of course, I was covered in blood but I asked everybody to calm down and started the performance all over again from the beginning.”
Kouta revealed the animals became unsettled because they did not have enough time to adjust to their new location before the performance.
“They did not have time to adapt because we arrived and immediately began to perform,” Kouta said. “They were in stress so it led to attack. They can be moody, like people.”
Traveling circuses are prohibited in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev but the circus was able to perform in Lugansk because it is in rebel-held territory outside of government rule.