A wild animal show in Olonets, Russia went way off-script after a more than 650-lb circus bear attacked and injured one of its trainers during a performance this week.
Video showed the audience watching the animal show from chairs with no barriers between them and the bear, as the trainer began prompting the wild animal to perform a trick called “Clubfoot and Garden Wheelbarrow.” The trick has the bear, named Yashka, walking on its hind legs while pushing a wheelbarrow while parents and their children watched from only a few feet away. When the trainer prompted the bear to turn, the large animal attacked him, pushing the man to the ground and straddling him while another trainer rushed in to kick at the bear.
“People started to jump up. A panic started. Everyone grabbed their kids and started running,” one eyewitness Galina Guryeva said, in video obtained by NBC News.
The bear then began to move into the audience area where it was quickly subdued using an electric shock, online news site gazeta.ru said, citing a witness to the incident.
The Interfax news agency said a criminal investigation has been opened by the Investigative Committee on a charge of providing unsafe services, the AP reported.
According to an interview with Russia media, the manager of the circus said Yashka had been scared by flash from cellphone cameras, which audience members were told to turn off. The trainer is going to recover and the bear will likely be retired as a performer.