By Will Stewart In Moscow for MailOnline
Published: 09:01 BST, 6 October 2020 | Updated: 09:01 BST, 6 October 2020
A worker was mauled to death by a performing brown bear after entering the animal's cage at a top Russian circus.
Valentin Bulich, 28, locked himself inside the cage with the unnamed beast, according to the world famous Great Moscow State Circus.
The seven-year-old bear tore off his scalp, reports said.
Bulich suffered multiple severe wounds before colleagues pulled him clear.
Trainer Valentin Bulich , 28, was killed by a bear at the Great Moscow State Circus after he entered the animal's cage for an unknown reason. The circus said that Bulich had committed a 'gross violation of safety rules' by entering the cage [File photo]
'Circus workers tried to save the victim's life, but to no avail,' a statement said.
'In a critical condition, he was taken to Vinogradov State Clinical Hospital, where he died of his wounds.'
The circus said that Bulich had committed a 'gross violation of safety rules' in entering the bear cage on a day off for performers.
His motive for doing so is now under investigation as part of a criminal investigation into his death.
The world famous Great Moscow State Circus uses three bears, like the one seen above with one of the performers, in its shows. Performing bears have a long history in Europe and elsewhere, however performances featuring large, dangerous animals such as bears have been banned in many countries. [File photo]
Bulich was described by a neighbour as a 'balanced, kind young man' who was hardworking and dedicated to his job. A police investigation is underway as to his motives for entering the animals cage. Law enforcement believe he deliberated violated the safety rules, saying he had locked the cage from the inside [File photo]
A neighbour said Bulich was hardworking and dedicated to his job as an animal care worker.
'We know him only from the positive side - he did not drink nor smoke, calm, he