Violeta was certainly a beautiful bear before humans pierced her nose without any anesthesia, to tie a metal chain and exploit her as a so-called "dancing bear". Again, and again her nose was pierced. Again, and again she was pulled by the metal chain that was attached to her skin. Again and again the pulling tore the skin inside her nose and jaw, leaving behind deep wounds and loose flaps of skin. These wounds are still visible and can no longer heal.
Although there were attempts to put an end to bears dancing in 1993, sadly the law was not stricly enforced. Bulgaria also had nowhere for the authorities to keep any bears it may confiscate and law was not strictly enforced. Roma families were allowed to still keep the bears, under license, until a sanctuary was found for them. This meant that these bears endured suffering for much longer. It was only in 1998, that the training and dancing of bears was outlawed in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian government approached FOUR PAWS and together with Brigitte Bardot Foundation, a suitable sanctuary for mistreated bears was built. BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa opened in 2000, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Bulgaria.
However, the true end to the cruel tradition of dancing bears in Bulgaria was in 2007, when the last three remaining dancing bears were rescued and transferred to the sanctuary. No bears in Bulgaria will ever be forced into this cruelty again!
Violeta's scars are the indisputable evidence of her brutal past, where she was found neglected under the poorest keeping conditions you can imagine. Years of malnutrition have affected her outer skin and fur. Every year after hibernation, Violeta loses patches of fur, mainly around her face. But despite those visible wounds, the old lady is a fun-loving bear who feels very comfortable at her forever home.
Violeta is feeling more relaxed these summer days. Her eyesight is weakened over the years and now she is blind, therefore she usually smell the ground first to find the food. Her favorite meals has to contain nuts and grapes.
In the early days, Violeta used to walk with a lot of confidence but it seems like recently she is slowing down a bit! Previously during her daily routine, she would walk through her entire enclosure (27,865 square meters), while recently she is spending more time near the pond, in the upper part of her enclosure. One of her favorite spots to spend some relaxing time is lying under the shades of the trees.
Violeta is one of the oldest bears at the sanctuary, and based on her daily behavior, the team on site decides to have regular check-ups for her.
Update May 1st 2020
At 39 years old, Violeta was one of the oldest bears living at BEAR SANCTUARY in Bulgaria, which FOUR PAWS runs together with FONDATION BRIGITTE BARDOT. She was abused in the name of entertainment, forced to dance for tourists, having a ring through her sensitive nose attached to a chain. Again, and again the pulling and wrenching tore the skin inside her nose and jaw, leaving behind deep wounds and loose flaps of skin.
Years of malnutrition have affected her outer skin and fur. Every year after hibernation, Violeta lost patches of fur, mainly around her face. But despite those visible wounds, Violeta was a very happy, lovely and active bear! Although she became almost completely blind in her older years, she still enjoyed exploring her environment curiously and spending her days sleeping by the pond with her favorite food. Unfortunately, a veterinary examination showed that the bear lady had tumors and heart disease. With broken hearts, we therefore had to say goodbye to Violeta. Her beautiful memory will live with us forever!
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