Saudi lion tamer held after girl attacked

A lion cub. File photoImage copyright
AFP/Getty Images

Image caption

The trainer said the lion seemed to have been attracted by a ribbon on the girl’s head (stock image)

The trainer of a lion cub which attacked a young girl at a festival in Saudi Arabia has been detained, amid intense public anger.

The organiser of the festival in Jeddah was also held, the authorities said.

The girl was attacked after she and a number of other children were allowed to enter the cage with the animal.

In a video, the girl is seen cornered by the lion, which stands on its hind legs and grabs her head with its paws. She then manages to escape unhurt.

Warning: The video appears at the bottom of this story and some readers may find it disturbing.

The girl – whose name and age have not been released – only managed to run away after a man held the six-month-old animal down on the cage floor.

Trainer Faisal Ossairy said the lion “seemed to have been attracted by the butterfly ribbon on the head of the girl”, according to Saudi Arabia’s al-Marsad news site.

He also said the animal had been trained to be around humans and its claws had been removed.

Footage posted on social media has quickly become viral, with many users accusing the organisers of the festival of neglecting the children’s safety.

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