Turkey’s last dancing bear dies in animal shelter

Turkey’s last dancing bear dies in animal shelter

Turkey’s last dancing bear dies in animal shelter

Turkey’s last dancing bear died in an animal shelter in the country’s northwestern province, marking the end of a cruel tradition that was made illegal years ago.

Brütüs, a 37-year-old grizzly who was the last surviving member of the 64 dancing bears brought to a shelter in Bursa’s Karacabey district decades ago, died of multiple organ failure due to old age.

He was one of the bears that have been tortured for entertainment purposes as some locals forced them to dance to tambourine music in city squares across the country to earn a living.

Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Azizcan Sezer, the chief veterinarian of Ovakorusu Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, said Brütüs had been a resident of the shelter since it was founded in 1996.

“Brütüs was a calm-natured and loving bear during his stay here at the center. For the last five to six years, we had been carrying on a special nutrition program as he got older,” Sezer said, adding that the bear was constantly monitored and controlled.

“He lived in our center for about 25 years and died at the age of 37,” the chief veterinarian noted, stressing that there were no other dancing bears in Turkey after his death.

Having been forced into a centuries-old entertainment culture, dancing bears were a common sight in Turkey until the late 1990s, although the cruel practice has been illegal since 1929.

The bears were captured at a very young age and were forced to walk on fire and learn to dance by abuse.

They had forcefully had their tooth and claws extracted by former owners to prevent them from harming humans, making it impossible for them to live in their natural habitats.

Through the efforts of animal lovers, a campaign was launched in 1992 and gained international recognition in 1993, forcing the government to step up efforts to eradicate bear dancing.

In 1993, the first batch of 12 dancing bears was taken into the shelter located on an area of 110,000 square meters in Karacabey. Later the number of rescued bears increased to 64.

The rescued bears, some of whom had marks of brutal torture on their bodies, were under comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and special diet.

They were rehabilitated in the shelter and given vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates pills and used to be fed with at least 400 kilograms of food per day, corresponding to 146 tons a year.

But the shelter was closed to public visits in 2014 after some visitors mistreated the bears, playing music from their mobile phones to force the bears to dance.

grizzly bear,