Last dancer bear Brütüs surviving in Ovakorusu Shelter
Within the scope of the “Freedom to Bears” project initiated 27 years ago, 64 dancer bears were brought to the Ovakorusu Bear Shelter and Rehabilitation Center in the northwestern province of Bursa, out of which only one bear named Brütüs has survived to this day.
Established in 1994 in Karacabey district of Bursa, the Ovakorusu Bear Shelter and Rehabilitation Center is home to a total of 72 bears.
Bear dancing is an old tradition and has a brutal and painful “training” process. Captured at a very young, these bears are forced to walk on fire and made to learn dance by abuse. Until the establishment of the shelter, these bears were tortured to dance on the streets. But they are now being protected in the shelter.
The youngest bear in the shelter is 4 months old, and the 37-year-old Brütüs is the oldest bear living in the shelter. While 63 of the 64 dancer bears brought in within the scope of the project since the establishment of the shelter died due to natural causes, Brütüs is the only one who survived. He is cared for by his caregivers with a special nutrition program.
Speaking about the activities of the shelter and the situation of the bear, Ovakorusu Bear Shelter Chief Azizcan Sezer said: “The shelter started its activities in 1996. Our oldest bear is Brütüs, who is 37 years old. He has been staying here since the shelter’s establishment. His health is fine, but his movements have slowed down a little more compared to other bears because of his old age.”
“Brütüs is under a special care program applied by our caregivers. As the only dancer bear in the shelter, he is very special to us. Dancer bears are looked after by people in unfavorable conditions and poorly trained in those environments. Brutus lived his life happily with animals of his own kind during his 25-year stay here. He is given special foods that bear eat in nature. He especially likes swimming in the pool,” Sezer added.