Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Circus bear attack in Volgograd, Russia.

Posted: 18 June 2018

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has urged Russia to stop circus suffering and protect public safety after a bear was beaten with sticks after attacking a presenter during a circus performance in Olkhovka, Volgograd. Just a couple of hours’ drive from where England will be playing Tunisia in the World Cup later today, the “nervous” bear attacked after trying to escape the circus ring, having entered on a skateboard down a ramp. The member of staff escaped serious injury, and the audience was unharmed, although there were no safety barriers in place.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: "Using wild animals in circuses is a recipe for disaster, putting animals and the public in harm’s way. With animal welfare inevitably compromised and circuses unable to provide for their needs, it’s time for Russia to step up and take action to stop circus suffering before tragedy strikes.”

On Friday, ADI expressed its disgust and disbelief at video footage showing another circus bear in Russia being used in a promotional stunt following the World Cup host nation’s victory over Saudi Arabia. The poor bear was seen blowing a vuvuzela in the back of a jeep and is believed to be the same bear forced to perform tricks at a football match in Pyatigorsk in April and filmed last year riding in a motorcycle sidecar in Arkhangelsk.

Creamer said on Friday that “It is sickening to see Tim the bear, or any wild animal, being exploited in this way, with absolute disregard for their wellbeing, their physical needs, and the safety of the public. Thankfully, governments around the world are taking action to end such shameful scenes. For animals like poor Tim, change cannot come soon enough.”

To mark the start of the World Cup, ADI shared with supporters a fun video of their football loving rescued lions.

The animal protection organisation is currently in Guatemala helping enforce a ban on the use of animals in circuses, as it has done in both Bolivia and Peru. Last week ADI removed 9 tigers and 2 lions from a circus, and now has 14 big cats at its temporary rescue centre, where it will care for the animals until they go to their forever homes. For the lions this will be ADI’s new sanctuary in South Africa. To support the rescue mission, donate here.

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioural needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

Media Contacts:

US: Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director | (323) 935-2234 or (323) 804-9920 (after hours) |

UK: Devon Prosser, Press Officer | 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548 |

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