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Performing Bears

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Offline spanishfreelander

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« on: October 08, 2007, 16:54 PM »
Hi all,
I have been asked to post this image and views on the subject on the Mammal board.
The picture was taken on the 22/9/07 at Los Morales Medieval Market,near Sevilla.
Heather and I travelled up from Olvera as we thought it would be interesting to compare a "Spanish" Medieval Market to Medieval Markets we had been to in the uk.
We were very impressed with all the hard work and effort that the locals had put into turning the Castle Square into a replica of how things might have looked hundreds of years ago.
Quite a lot of them where in costumes of the period and the Moorish influence was something we hadnt taken into consideration,being more used to English Medieval markets.
There was a Falconer there,see pics on seperate thread,stilt walkers,jugglers,and a "Dancing Bear".

For us,everything was lovely up to the "Bear" part.
Having been to Zoos and Wildlife parks in the UK,i am not a great fan of them,Yes,i know they have a great part to play in animal conservation,and are helpful for experts to study animals,so in the long term they can help restock them in the wild.

I dont like to see animals in zoos...
my def of zoos..slightly bigger cages...
The local spanish population on the day seemed very happy to see the bear going through its "act".
If they were aware the way the Bear is taught these "tricks"..it didnt show on their faces.
As for heather and myself..it spoilt a nice day out...
To be thruthful,i felt a bit sick afterwards...
Im not sure where the bear came from,someone since then said it probally came from one of the Eastern European countries..
I just felt very sorry for it,probally locked up in a cage most of the week and taken out to do public shows..
Not much of a life,is it?
Dave
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 16:56 PM by spanishfreelander »

Offline Clive

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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 18:39 PM »
Thanks for starting this topic Dave. It is a hard one because it involves the general human attitude towards captive animals

As a start I have found that the born free foundation have some background info on dancing bears. Although Spain isn't mentioned I think that that it is relevant because the bear you saw was probably from eastern Europe, possibly Bulgaria....

The article is quite blunt and the training practices to make a bear learn to dance are not for the feint hearted...

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/files/zoo_check/Dancing_bears.pdf

Also relevant is the general attitude towards "Exotic Zoo animals" The following report from the same born free web site is interesting reading... The fact that Spanish Zoos seemed to gain a "blanket certificate of competence without the necessary checking is a normal occurrence and not just in Spain...

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/zoos/spanish-zoos/

Well it is a start.. I don't pretend to have any answers or solutions but I do know that the scientific world sees this bear as the same species as the one being protected in the North of Spain... I need confirmation by an expert but this is a "European brown bear" is it not?

Clive
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 19:02 PM »
I have just written to the born free foundation to see if they can shed some light on the subject... I will post the reply when/if i get one

Clive
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 19:23 PM »
Greetings Dave,
Before getting to grips with the real topic of this thread, and to play for time while I try to control my animal instinct to go out and cause GBH to assorted human beings responsible for allowing such things to take place, just thought re. your
Quote
the Moorish influence was something we hadnt taken into consideration, being more used to English Medieval markets.

you might like to read the following extract (my bold print)
Quote
While there is still some dispute the origin of the term "Morris", the most widely accepted theory is that the term was "moorish dance," "morisques" (in France), "moriskentanz" (in Germany), "moreška" (in Croatia), and "moresco" or "morisca" (in Italy and Spain), which eventually became "morris dance". Dances with similar names and some similar features are mentioned in Renaissance documents in France, Italy, Germany, Croatia, and Spain, throughout, in fact Catholic Europe. This is hardly surprising; by 1492 Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille succeeded in driving the Moors out of Spain and unifying the country. In celebration of this a pageant known as a "Moresca" was devised and performed. This can still be seen performed in places such as Ainsa, Aragon. Incorporated into this pageant was the local dance - the Paloteao. This too can still be seen performed in the villages of Aragon. The similarity to what became known as the English "Morris" is undoubted. Early court records state that the "Moresque" was performed at court in her honour, including the dance - the "moresque" or "morisce" or "morys" dance.

from this typically unauthoritative, wikipedia article

Now down to the real nitty gritty: I told Lisa recently that I wouldn't comment on the killing/deaths of bears as the issue, and its implications, were too much for me. And dismayed as I am to see history repeating itself, time and time again, the image from the "medieval" fair really doesn't surprise me in the slightest. By modern Spanish standards regarding animal rights, it really is quite tame/mild and if anyone complains to the organisers, as you mention, it'll just be blamed on the wandering "gypsies/Romanians/whoever".
However, the show as a whole will have been organised directly or indirectly by the local municipal authorities, the programme sanctioned by the regional government - and the huge bear itself, entered the country in someone's handbag.
Over to others.
Dismayed-but-not-surprised-regards,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Clive

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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2007, 19:39 PM »
what we need is for someone to politely ring up the ayuntamiento at Los Morales and ask for the entertainments manager... then ask for the contact details of the dancing bear man....

TP.. fancy a shroomy mission?

Clive
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2007, 19:46 PM »
Thanks for posting that Dave. it took me a while to open the picture but had to do it to see the handler. I'd say def. eastern European and reckon probably Romanian or Bulgarian but the practice is banned in the latter and I'm not sure about the former. Didn't they both recently join the EU? I think you should complain to the ayuntamiento. They presumably organised the thing and are therefore responsible for its content. This troupe will be travelling around Spain I suppose, performing at other ferias - it has to be stopped. The Olive Press might be interested. Any other ideas anyone?
Will be pondering this overnight. It makes a complete mockery of the huge conservation efforts being made towards Spain's bears and I can't believe it is legal.
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2007, 20:22 PM »
Letter off to the Olive press now to see if they will help us find out more info

Clive
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2007, 21:17 PM »
I've just sent an email to Four Paws International who run a rescue centre for dancing bears. Another in their first language, German, may not go amiss. Anyone?
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Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 22:46 PM »
It is hard to believe that this sort of thing can still happen in this enlightened ? day and age.  As you say Dave most of the audience seem quite happy to witness such cruelty and I applaud how you both managed to keep you anger in check cos I know that I would have had great difficulty in holding back - even though I know that such action would get me nowhere, whereas the concerted action of the Forum could have an effect.  Sorry Lisa, but the only thing I know in German is how to count to five otherwise I would have been more than happy to write.

Simon

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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2007, 07:44 AM »
Hi Guys,

Good news for bad reasons is that cruelty to animals is now a criminal, as oppsosed to a civil, offense at least here in Catalonia. It's been used to prosecute ajuntaments in the Ebro region for allowing steeplechasing with ostriches.

This came about following the atrocity at Reus dogs rescue centre in 2001 or 2 (see me at www.sibes.org) I don't know if this law passed over to the wider state legislature but I'll try to find out - Nick or Lucy may be better informed than me.

Regards and tears

Simon

Offline lisa

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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2007, 07:56 AM »
From laverdad.es, - they were in Cartagena on the 30/9. The bear is called Tima.
There's a website http://www.mercadosmedievales.net/ with dates on upcoming markets. This month from the 10th - Jerez de la Frontera, Granada, Murcia, Valencia and Madrid to name just a few. I also found a forum on the site in which appears a topic on the bear, from which it seems that the Sociedad Protectora de Animales y Plantas de Cádiz reported the act in April!. I've sent them an email asking for any info they can impart.
Dave, if you'd like to write a letter of complaint to the ayuntamiento de Los Morales (sic), I'd be happy to translate it for you. With your permission, I could try to divulge the facts further.






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Offline olivepress

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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2007, 12:33 PM »
Just been informed of this and have got someone on the case

Simon

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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2007, 21:26 PM »
Hi Guys,

Just to stick my twop'th in. You may be better off complaing about the ajutamiento rather that to it. The AJ was the body responsible for granting licenses for street performances, etc. and likewise have to correspond to public safety, animal rights, etc.

I know I'm an old anarchist, but you have to hit where it hurts most!

Simey

Offline Tilley

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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2007, 21:48 PM »
@ spanishfreelander

Hi Dave

I would really like to talk to you about this for The Olive Press ... Any chance of sending a phone number to: writeaboutspain @gmail.com and I'll get in touch whenever it is convenient for you.

Best wishes, Lisa Tilley.

Offline Clive

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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2007, 23:21 PM »
Hi Lisa Tilley, Welcome to our iberianature forum and thank you for your interest.

There are a lot of links posted in this topic mostly from myself and Lisa and I would suggest that you take a look at all of them to help you see the situation properly from both a European and Iberian standpoint.(the Spanish forum linked that show’s complaints earlier this year is especially important)... I am not sure that getting more words from Dave would help. I certainly would not want to see an exaggerated, headline grabbing article with quotes from bystanders... What you really need is factual information from the relevant people who have experience of this subject...

Great care has to be taken in this type of problem because IF this bear is here illegally without the correct papers then in reality it does not exist and as such it can (and will) disappear quite quickly and we will never learn of its fate. This would be an un acceptable result to all of us I am sure.

You should also look at the web site Asociación de Cuidadores de Animales Salvajes http://www.aicas.org/asociacion.htm they may be able to help and I see they have a representative in Jerez de la Frontera…

For me this is a very important subject… The European brown bear is an endangered species in Spain and as such has the fullest “protection” at European level in order to ensure its survival. To have the same species of bear in a street show “dancing” for people shows a complete and utter disregard for this protected status…

Please see an article on the Cantabrian brown bear with all the links you need to find out more at

The Cantabrian Brown Bear

Sorry, lots of links but I guess you are used to that for your journalistic research. ? please keep in touch.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 23:23 PM by Wildside »
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Offline steveT

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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2007, 02:02 AM »
Dear all,

This is terrible. This brown bear is Cites Appendix 11 ( and it could be 1 but unlikely) and for this reason alone the situation must be illegal.....will try to find advice.

steveT

Offline Tilley

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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2007, 09:58 AM »
@ Steve T

where is appendix 11?

best wishes,

LisaT

Offline steveT

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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2007, 12:25 PM »
Dear LiaT,

Cites ( covention on the international trade of endangered species). Spain agreed to enforce the convention from 1986. it is legally binding internationally but done so by ensuring a countries national legal set up enforces this ( I'm no lawyer so the previous sentence is a my undersatnding and may be incorrect but I think that's the basic idea).

You have Appendix 1, 2 and 3 ( shown as Roman numerals usually)......1 is for most endangered species.

Brown bears are appendix 2, except for some asian sub species which are 1.

See the Cities website

steveT

Offline Clive

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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 22:08 PM »
Back from a long day out.... No mediaeval market in Jerez.... Though the website http://www.mercadosmedievales.net/#1 says it was from today to the 13th.... The info centre in Jerez told Sue it was in three weeks time.....

Clive
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The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

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Offline Tilley

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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 23:02 PM »
@ todos

I've had a reply through the AICAS forum. Someone who claims to know the bear and his trainers well and insists that this is the only bear in Europe with permission to perform at ferias of this type. He used to be in a Russian circus, lived in distressing conditions and was rescued, apparently. When the bear is not performing he lives in an "incredible" complex in his home country. Full reply below...

I think he is telling the truth which almost makes it more distressing - that this can still be legal here. We still know nothing of the original training methods which were used to condition this animal into performing, not to mention the amount of traveling and dancing he must do to line someone's pockets...

Dave, I would still really like to talk to you about what you saw.

Kind regards


Conzco muy bien a el cuidador y al oso, fue contratado por Antonio Ibañez (mi exjefe, propietario de la reserva del Castillo de las Guardas - Sevilla, safari Madrid y safari de Elche) y actuo en canal sur Waku Waku, yo los acompañe a los dos, ya que yo era el cetrero del parque y llevaba un calao trompetero y un caracara. Antes de salir para plato, el seprona y el SOIBRE hizieron las respectivas comprobaciones y gestiones en el parque, y todo estaba en regla. La procedencia es norte europea, no se de que pais concretamente y no es el oso pardo que todos nos pensamos. Es el unico oso en Europa que tiene permiso para actuar en ferias y platos, por su procedencia, era propiedad de un circo ruso y vivia en circunstancias penosas, lo requisaron y este hombre se ocupo de el, cuando no actua esta en su pais natal y tiene una istalaciones increibles, muy bien aclimatadas. Por algo las autoridades consienten esto....no creeis???. Tiene contabilizadas las actuaciones al año, para no extresar al animal. Personalmente me lo pase muy bien con ellos y es increible comprobar el trabajo que ha realizado con este animal y lo unidos que estan.