Russian travelling circus makes bears go through a routine of degrading tricks and stunts for the entertainment of crowds.
Disturbing photos of polar bears forced to “sing and dance” while wearing muzzles have been condemned by animal welfare groups.
The magnificent creatures, which usually roam the vast wastes of the Arctic Circle, are trapped in a Russian travelling circus.
Trainers make them go through a routine of degrading tricks and stunts for the entertainment of crowds.
In these videos – taken in Ivanovo, north east of Moscow – bears are seen being forced to roar into a microphone and dance on their hind legs.
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, said: “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.
“ADI urges Russia to join the 31 countries who have already implemented restrictions on wild animal circuses.”
Countries in Europe that prohibit the use of all animals in circuses include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Greece.
ADI said that more than 200 local authorities in the UK have restrictions in place. More than two-thirds forbid all performing animals and the remainder ban wild animals.
Elisa Allen, associate director of animal rights charity PETA, said: “Russia cannot successfully cultivate a remotely progressive image as long as it still abuses bears, forcing these dignified wild animals to perform demeaning and stupid tricks in order to amuse the masses.
“We have spoken to trainers for Russian circuses who burn bears with cigarettes, strike them with metal bars and use other torture methods – in addition to forcing cubs to stand on their hind legs by chaining them to a wall so they will strangle if they attempt to return to a natural all-fours stance.
“Many cubs die before the harsh training even begins because of the stress of capture, gruelling transportation conditions, food deprivation, dehydration and extremely rough handling.
Adult male polar bears, which can weigh up to 90 stone, are classified as a vulnerable species. Numbers are in decline with 25,000 left in the wild.