LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Monday, 9 February 2015

Lion lady Faten El-Helw survives attack in Egypt

Queen of the Cage - Faten El-Helw
in the ring...

... and recovering from last week's mauling
Lion trainer Faten El-Helw survived an attack by a big cat during a performance in Tanta, Egypt, last Thursday. In a video taken by an audience member, a lion called Mandy is seen unexpectedly charging across the ring and knocking the trainer to the ground. What happened next is unclear, because the camera turns away from the scene. But, a few seconds later, Faten is seen walking with help from the ring.

Although hospitalised, El-Helw was released after two days and needed no surgery.

Perhaps the lion was just being playful - as Britain's Thomas Chipperfield explained in a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph. But even a playful lion can kill. El-Helw's husband and fellow trainer Ibrahim was killed by a lion in 2004.

What's it like to be at the mercy of two tigers attacking in earnest? I asked British trainer Martin Lacey Sr. Read his graphic account here.

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