This lesson was not in the curriculum for the school trip to the circus in Peru.
During a fieldtrip to the Monaco Circus in Cusco, a primary school teacher decided to enter a caged area with a lion inside to prove to her students that the big cat was not aggressive.
While the act started out harmless, with the teacher sitting near the lion, it quickly took a turn for the worst.
Terrified children watched as the lion – who was sitting on a small ladder – pounced on their teacher, Roxana Guevara Huaraca, and quickly dragged her around the enclosure with the lion trainer just feet away.
The harrowing event lasted about 30 seconds, until one of the circus trainers was able to get the big cat to release Guevara. A video of the attack shows her standing up after she was released.
According to reports, she was taken to a nearby clinic and was in stable condition. Family members told Peru’s El Comercio that Guevara did not suffer any head injuries, but sustained injuries in the neck from the bite and might need surgery.
The owner of the circus objected to any accusations of irresponsibility, stating the lion slipped and did not jump on the teacher.
“This is the only accident he has had. He is very tame,” he told El Comercio.
A police investigation of the circus is expected to occur. Both the circus owner and the lion’s trainer could be held responsible.
Guevara’s family announced Monday they would be suing the circus for damages.
The news of the attack comes just after seven lions and two lionesses were saved from three different Peruvian circuses by Animals Defenders International.
Jan Creamer, the organization’s president, told El Comercio that circus animals “are beaten and suffer when separated from their herds.”