ATTACKS involving lions or tigers in Australia since 1980
1980, May: A circus lion attacks and injures a girl despite having had its claws removed as a cub.
1983: Lion tamer needs 80 stitches after being attacked by a lion.
1984: Circus proprietor receives 64 stitches after being attacked by a lion.
1988: Handler hospitalised after being mauled by a tiger.
1989, February: A lion keeper has 170 stitches after being mauled by a tiger reared by the circus since birth.
1991, February: Drunken man severely mauled after freeing four lions from cage.
1991, June: Lion handler mauled by lion during a photo session.
1992, June: Tiger that bites a circus worker after escaping from its cage is shot dead.
1993, December: Lion tamer has stitches for wounds inflicted by a lioness during a performance.
1994, June: A 20-month-old boy has one arm bitten off and the other badly mauled by a tigon (a lion/tiger cross) at a circus. The boy's father was an employee of the circus.
1998, July: A tiger attacks its handler and carries him 5m in front of 200 spectators.
2000, September 12: Two tiger handlers are attacked and bitten by a tiger before shooting a scene for a television series.
August 13, 2001, Monday
Mauling prompts circus ban call
ALL wild animal circuses should be shut down and their breeding programs banned in the wake of a vicious attack by two lions on their trainer, an animal rights group said yesterday.
The call by Animal Liberation NSW comes after lion tamer Geoffrey Lennon was mauled by his charges during a Lennon Brothers' Circus act in Penrith, western Sydney. Horrified spectators, including dozens of children, watched on. Mr Lennon, 40, is still in hospital with cuts and puncture wounds to his chest, back and buttocks from yesterday's attack.
He escaped after other trainers turned hoses on the male lions, whose aggression was believed to have been sparked by a lioness coming into the mating season.
Vice-president of the animal rights group, Margaret Setter, said as long as wild animals were kept in such an unnatural environment they would be a threat to humans.
The attack showed they did not belong in circuses, which did not not have the capacity to evolve more appropriate environments because they were constantly mobile, unlike zoos, she added."The animal circus is way past its heyday. The Government should step in and shut them down and place a ban on the breeding of cats as they are using young ones as a lure for bringing children in," Ms Setter said.
"The animal they see is a pale shadow of itself, they are treated simply like clockwork toys, but they are extremely dangerous ones."
She said it was unfair to put the animals down simply for doing what came naturally.
Rather, they should be rehoused in an open space and left to live out the rest of their lives without being subject to further cruelty.
A spokeswoman for the circus declined to further comment on the incident yesterday, except to confirm that Mr Lennon -- a tamer with 10 years' experience -- was being kept in hospital.
Lion tamer 'thrown around like rag doll' by circus big cats
An Australian lion tamer has been mauled by two of his big cats during a circus performance. Geoffrey Lennon of Lennon Brothers Circus is undergoing surgery for puncture wounds to his chest, back, arms and buttocks. He was taken to hospital in a serious condition. His grandmother, Caroline, told Ananova they "threw him around like a rag doll" at the circus in Penrith, western Sydney.
She said the lions will probably be retired, saying: "Once they've tasted blood they're dangerous." Emergency workers had to wait for the animals to be pushed back by fire hoses before they could reach Mr Lennon. Paramedics say Mr Lennon, 40, was suffering severe shock when they arrived to treat him. But his grandmother said there are no plans to cancel future shows. "The shows will go on," she told Ananova. "But without the lions." No one else was injured during the attack.