When lions attack

by Kitty on October 29, 2010

In early October*, a lion tamer (Oleksie Pinko) at the Lviv Circus in the Ukraine was “attacked” by a couple of the lions in his act. He apparently is in stable condition, which is a good thing. None of the articles published immediately after the altercation (or since, for that matter — Lviv Circus has been very quiet) mention what happened to the lions or offer much in the way of background information.

Articles about the attack invariably include the words “horrifying”, “terrifying”, and “shocking”. While I can understand those words being used by someone who was actually there, simply in the context of finding yourself suddenly and unexpectedly in danger, I don’t quite get it from very distant onlookers after the fact. My first thought was that the lions were being remarkably restrained. The six lions in that ring *could* have made a nice meal out of the trainer and handlers before anyone had been able to do much more than start to think, “S&^$!” My second thought was that this is what happens when you hold another creature captive. After all, you might do something similar if you were being held against your will while someone poked you with a stick and sprayed water on you. (Come on, think of Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes. You know you’d do the same thing he — and these lions — did.)

I know it’s really wrong on a number of levels, but I’m slightly amused by the other lions in the video, who either seem to be trying to figure out what the hell is going on or are, like the lion in the image on the right, completely not paying attention at all. I wonder what’s going on in all of their minds, but I particularly want to know what’s going on in this lion’s head. For pretty much the entire attack, he is looking away from the action, sometimes seemingly deliberately so as he changes his position, when the trainers and other lions move across the ring. to keep the altercation behind him. Is he completely self-involved (or deaf) and simply never notices the fracas? Is he deliberately ignoring the situation? And if so, why? (Is he thinking that he can avoid the hose and sticks by staying out of the way and looking unruffled?)

And I wonder what triggered the attack. Was it just the cumulative effect of however many years of captivity and “training” they’d endured? Or was there a particular recent trigger? Or were the lions, like the rest of us, just having a bad day.

A video clip from CBS news includes part of a Skype webcam interview with Doug Shepherd, who said that his son doesn’t want to go to the circus any more. That’s a good thing.

* I’d started this post on October 6, but then clearly decided I had better things to do than actually publish it.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 braque February 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Looks like they only had it in for the one guy ….and there are no doubt reasons for that.I think they where telling him something personal to him..the other workers know it too.

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