When we think of polar bears, images of the vast Arctic Circle probably come to mind – great lengths of snow, ice, glaciers, and beautiful stretches of untouched land. However, a Russian traveling circus has decided that a life with muzzles and microphones is better suited for these magnificent creatures … or at least a more profitable one. At the Ivanovo circus in Russia, polar bears are forced to “sing and dance” while their mouths are wired shut for audiences across Eastern Russia.

During the show, the polar bears perform tricks and stunts for crowds, including roaring into a microphone and dancing on their hind legs – something they would never do in the wild. As if having their mouths wired shut wasn’t bad enough, polar bear cubs are beaten by the trainers so they will be submissive when the grow up. By “breaking” their spirits, the trainers help ensure that the bears will not retaliate.

After photos of the act surfaced, animal rights organizations condemned the circus and called for an end to their cruel act. “Most people agree that reducing such ­intelligent predators to nothing more than tormented puppets is wrong and these animals have no place in a circus,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said. “ADI urges Russia to join the 31 countries who have already ­implemented restrictions on wild animal circuses.”

Polar bears already have enough problems, they certainly should not have to be subjected to life in a circus showSadly, Russia isn’t the only place where these magnificent beings are kept confined for entertainment. Zoos and circuses in the U.S. also keep polar bears in environments that are completely unnatural to their homeland. We can all make a difference for polar bears and other animals by boycotting facilities that hold them captive. Share this post and encourage others to do the same!