- Valentin Bulich entered the trained bear’s cage wearing a face mask.
- Yasha the bear did not recognize the young man and attacked him.
- Bulich’s colleagues managed to drag him out of the enclosure, but he later died due to his injuries.
28-year-old circus worker Valentin Bulich was mauled to death by a trained bear named Yasha after he forgot to remove his face mask before entering the cage.
Bulich went in the enclosure for a routine cleaning and locked the door behind him to prevent the bear from escaping. Tragically, however, this only trapped him when the animal started attacking.
The bear charged, clawing at his body and tearing Bulich’s scalp off in the brutal incident. His colleagues was able to pull him out and rush him to Vinogradov State Clinical Hospital. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries some time later.
According to a source at the Moscow State Circus, Bulich went in alone. Although to do so is a violation of safety rules, it is a ‘norm in the circus.’
The source also said that Yasha knew Bulich well, but did not recognize him with his face mask on.
In an interview with BAZA Media, the source said:
“He turned away from the bear with his back, and it immediately attacked him. He entered the cage, closed it, and turned around in the mask.”
Initial reports claimed that Bulich secretly took the keys and entered the bear’s cage to ‘hone his skills.’ His mother, Elena, 52 told Daily Mail that his son wanted to ‘graduate from being a cage cleaner’ to a bear trainer.
She said her son had successfully worked with cubs before the tragic incident.
Later it was revealed that Bulich was only going to clean Yasha’s cage.
Yasha is famous inside and outside the circus for performing numerous stunts, and is trusted enough to get close to humans.
The bear was even invited by a football team in Moscow in August to deliver a ‘pep talk’ to the players.
Tatyana Zapashnaya, senior circus official said:
“It is very difficult for us. Everything happened very quickly and unexpectedly. This is a disaster that we must deal with. We are very concerned about this incident.”
A full investigation has been launched after Bulich’s death.
Meanwhile, animal rights groups in Russia are calling for circuses to stop using animals.
“No circus conditions will be humane for one simple reason. Training goes hand in hand with cruelty. Circuses are always cruel beyond limits, and circuses with animals should be banned,” said Irina Novozhilova, of animal rights group VITA.
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