Ten lions belonging to Ukrainian animal tamer Vladislav Goncharov that were stranded on the Russian-Latvian border have been let through and are heading to Moscow, Yelena Olshanskaya, a spokeswoman for the Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard, said.
Russian officials did not let the animals through for two days as documents for them were filled in incorrectly. Should the lions have stayed on the border a few days longer, they could have died from cold and hunger running out of food, according to Circus Director Maxim Nikulin.
Nikulin on Tuesday said that the vans with lions arrived from Monte Carlo, where they participated in a festival. Officials did not want to let them through because their documents were “filled in line with EU standards,” he said.
Goncharov told RIA Novosti: “For the lions to be let through, Maxim Nikulin called the head of [Russian veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog] Rosselkhoznadzor [Sergei Dankvert].”
“No animal has been harmed or has caught a cold,” Goncharov said.
A performance involving Goncharov’s lions is scheduled in the Moscow Circus on February 23.
Goncharov this year won the Silver Clown prize at the world’s most prestigious circus art contest in Monte Carlo.