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Media Statement: Bear forced to perform in World Cup 2018 street celebrations

Shocking scenes of a bear blowing a vuvuzela while being driven around in a jeep after Russia's opening game World Cup victory has rightly caused outrage all over the world.  Especially considering this is reportedly the same bear who we saw in April 2018, muzzled and forced to perform at a Russian football match.

FOUR PAWS Australia Country Director, Jeroen van Kernebeek, says that as an animal protection organisation, FOUR PAWS condemns any exploitation of wildlife for entertainment purposes, as these animals can suffer physical and psychological impacts of such forced behaviour.

“At FOUR PAWS, we have rescued many ex-entertainment animals such as lions, tigers and bears, animals who are often broken, physically and mentally. They show evidence of abuse from 'training techniques', or repetitive behaviours like swaying and pacing which are clear indicators of mental distress and long-term suffering.”

“Bears are wild animals, so being muzzled and forced to perform, especially in chaotic parade scenes can result in significant stress and anxiety for the animal. As a wild animal, bears should be living in nature or at the very least away from humans, not on display in crowded, noisy cities.”

FOUR PAWS tried to rescue the bear in 2013

In October 2013, the bear and his owner were on their way from Spain to the Ukraine when they were stopped in Austria. FOUR PAWS vet Dr Amir Khalil was on-site and witnessed the condition of the bear.

"The bear was discovered by the police during a standard patrol on an Austrian motorway. The transport conditions did not seem appropriate to the local officials, so they informed FOUR PAWS. We immediately offered to temporarily house the bear in our BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach in Lower Austria," said FOUR PAWS vet Dr Amir Khalil.

"Unfortunately, our proposal was rejected because the owner had valid papers for the circus bear. As a veterinarian, I could tell that the bear was obviously not in good health at that time – although a detailed health check was denied to us. The bear had bad teeth and we noticed he was blind in one eye.

"While the owner waited for clearance for the onward journey, the bear was made to perform tricks to the police and press at the scene. He had to play the trumpet, dance and snuggle a German shepherd. It is terribly sad to see that he still has to do his tricks after all these years," said FOUR PAWS vet Dr Amir Khalil.




Elise Burgess
Head of Communications
FOUR PAWS Australia
M: 0423 873 382



FOUR PAWS is an international animal protection organisation with headquarters in Austria and an office in Sydney. Founded in 1988, the organisation protects animals by effective campaigns and projects. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are under direct human influence, including companion animals, stray dogs and cats, farmed animals and wild animals in captivity such as bears, big cats and orangutans. With branches in 11 countries, FOUR PAWS is able to help animals in need - directly and rapidly.