Updated: 05/01/12 : 07:14:00
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World :: Boy Critical After Tiger Attack At Zoo

A three-year-old boy is in a critical condition after being mauled by a tiger at a roadside zoo in Russia.

The tiger was tied to a post behind a small fence when the attack happened at the zoo in Blagoveshchensk, in Russia's Amur region.

A man who was shown on Russian television inside the tiger's enclosure said he tried to stop the attack.

"I hit it (the tiger) with a stick, there was a metal thing on it. But it clutched the kid very tight," he said.

A doctor at the Amur Regional Hospital said: "The boy was brought in a bad condition, he had an emergency operation which lasted several hours.

"He is in intensive care now, in a bad condition. It is hard to give any prognosis so far."

An official of the Amur Regional Investigative Committee said his office was gathering information on the attack.

"According to the information we have, the tiger was not inside the cage, it was between the fence and the cage, so it was free," he said.

"It was attached by a chain, but people were allowed behind the fence to take photographs.

"The investigators will find out whether it was legal, and will give their legal evaluation."