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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 4:51 pm

Tiger kills trainer at circus in Mexico

The Associated Press

A tiger mauled his trainer to death at a circus in northern Mexico in a shocking attack captured in an amateur video.

Police in the northern state of Sonora identified the trainer as 35-year-old Alexander Crispin Suarez, and said he was a U.S. citizen. However, U.S. authorities were not able Tuesday to confirm his nationality.

The attack occurred late Saturday during and evening performance of the Hermanos Suarez circus in the Sonora town of Etchojoa.

Amateur video of the attack circulated on media-sharing sites Monday, showing the trainer jogging in circles around the tiger and another big cat, to make the two felines turn in circles on a large dais.

As the trainer jogged around on one pass, the tiger suddenly stops his spinning routine and reaches out and grabs the man, pulling him to the ground and mauling him.

Other circus employees immediately came to his aid, trying to drive the tiger off by hitting him with a metal stand.

However, the tiger continued attacking, and the trainer died at a hospital from loss of blood.

On Tuesday, the attorney general's office for environmental protection said it had conducted an inspection of the circus following the accident.

The office said the circus has valid permits to keep and display 11 Bengal tigers and other exotic animals.