Tiger sinks teeth into circus trainer's neck during live show as audience watch

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Tiger sinks teeth into circus trainer
Tiger sinks teeth into circus trainer's neck during live show as audience watch

A tiger sank its teeth into a circus big cat trainer in front of horrified onlookers, shocking video footage shows.

The distressing scenes were filmed at a show in Lecce, Italy on December 29, where keeper Ivan Orfei was attacked.

The 31-year-old was focussed on another tiger, which was sitting on a large metal ring during the performance, when a second animal sunk its teeth into him.

The tiger pounces on Orfei and clamps its jaws on his left leg, leaving him shrieking in pain as he tries to get free.

The large feline then jumps on Orfei's back and attempts to bite his neck, just as a predator would when trying to finish off its prey in the wild.

Furious chimp launches bottle at girl filming him leaving her bleeding at zoo rridzziquridttinvFurious chimp launches bottle at girl filming him leaving her bleeding at zoo
Tiger sinks teeth into circus trainer's neck during live show as audience watchThe tiger attacked Ivan's leg before going for his neck (CEN)
Tiger sinks teeth into circus trainer's neck during live show as audience watchIvan has been receiving treatment in hospital (CEN)

Orfei was eventually freed when his show assistant beats the tiger with a prop for long enough to allow him to limp away.

The Daily Star reports that he was immediately rushed to the emergency department of Vito Fazzi Hospital following the attack and received treatment for the deep wounds he sustained to his neck and leg.

A statement posted on Facebook by circus management read: "Ours is a world made of great love for animals, as Ivan himself demonstrates to the public in his shows.

"Tigers are fascinating animals and knowing how to tame and establish them a relationship of trust with man is an art that has been taking place for hundreds of years not only in the circus world.

"However, accidents can happen and the courage shown by those like him who carry out this profession is commendable.

"Ivan, a very talented professional trainer, was hit by a tiger during the show and fortunately suffered minor injuries and his condition is not a cause for concern."

Orfei remains in hospital with injuries that are said to be serious but non-life-threatening.

An investigation into the incident is now under way, local media reported.

It has also been confirmed that the tiger will be seen by a vet.

Kirsty Card

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