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Video: Lion attacks girl in Saudi Arabia

Trainer held, festival suspended following dramatic incident

lion saudi
Image Credit: Al Marsad
The lion holding the girl's head between its paws

Manama: The trainer of a lion that attacked a young girl in Saudi Arabia is being questioned over the incident.

The attack occurred this week at the “Jeddah Spring” festival held in the Red Sea city when children were allowed to run around with the six-month cub as part of the playful show.

However, the event turned into drama when the cub cornered a young girl, stood on its hind legs and grabbed her head with its paws amid screams from the audience.

One adult man who was with the children in the enclosure during the show succeeded into pulling the girl to safety.

“The children were delightfully playing and the lion seemed to have been attracted by the butterfly ribbon on the head of the girl,” Faisal Aseeri, the Saudi trainer who owns a small zoo was quoted as saying by Saudi news site Al Marsad on Thursday.

“The girl is now faring well and her condition is stable. She was not harmed. The cub is only six months old and its claws had been removed to make sure it did not harm children during the play.”

Aseeri added that the screams from some in the audience caused the tension and fear during the incident.

“The girl her brothers and her father visited me on the same day and the next day to play with a small tiger and other animals,” he said.

The festival, held next to a major mall in Jeddah, was suspended.

In November 2016, a young girl in Saudi Arabia had the scare of her life when she was attacked by a tiger during a promotion show.

The attack, captured by an onlooker on video, occurred in an open space near a market in Sakaka in the northwestern part of the kingdom.

Witnesses said that the tiger was being shown off by its trainer as part of an entertainment programme featuring animals when it attacked the girl who started screaming.

The prompt intervention of the trainer rescued her from the wild animal, they added.

In November 2013, a five-year-old Qatari boy was attacked by a baby leopard causing him serious injuries.

Fahad was attending the circus with his mother in the Qatari capital, Doha, when the cub pounced upon him after the show and held his neck in its jaws.

He was rescued thanks to the quick intervention of some of the spectators and the trainer who initially grabbed the leopard by its fur and pulled hard, but, as the animal did not let go of its victim, they punched and hit it until it did.