Violeta is one of our oldest bears living in our BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa in Bulgaria, which is run together with FONDATION BRIGITTE BARDOT. While she may not be the prettiest of our bears, that’s not her fault.
Violeta was certainly a beautiful bear before the human pierced her nose without any anesthesia, attached a metal chain to her sensitive nose and used her as a so-called dancing bear. Again and again her nose was pierced. She was repeatedly pulled on the metal chain attached to her skin. Again and again, the tugging and tugging tore the skin inside her nose and jaw, leaving deep cuts and loose flaps of skin. These wounds are still visible and cannot heal.
Unfortunately, although there were attempts to end the keeping of dancing bears in 1993, Roma families were still licensed to keep the bears until a sanctuary was found for them. This was because the authorities in Bulgaria had no way of keeping the bears and the law was not strictly enforced. That meant these bears had to suffer much longer. Only in 1998 was the training and performance of dancing bears banned in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian government approached and together with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation a suitable sanctuary for abused bears was built – a «heaven» called BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa, which opened in 2000 up in the beautiful mountains.
However, the true end of the cruel tradition of dancing bears in Bulgaria was in 2007 when the last three remaining dancing bears were rescued and taken to BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa. No bear in Bulgaria will ever be forced into this cruelty again.
Her scars are undeniable evidence of Violetta’s brutal past, in which she was neglected and kept in the worst conditions imaginable. Years of malnutrition have damaged their outer skin and coat. Every year after hibernation, Violeta sheds parts of her fur, especially around her face. But despite these visible wounds, the old lady is a fun-loving bear, and she is very comfortable in her forever home.
She is quite calm and you can tell she wants to live the rest of her life to the fullest – in peace and quiet!