Tima is a Russian circus bear that has not only created quite a storm with his hula hooping on YouTube, he’s stirred up some controversy regarding animal rights as well. A giant brown bear, Tima knows how to play the trumpet and can dance while hula hooping. Trained to perform these tricks by his trainer Pavel Vyakin, footage of his talents has started to create quite a stir. Shown rolling over, as well as sitting on a chair and clapping his paws before blowing a tune on a trumpet, Tima’s finale performance has him spinning the hoop casually not only around his neck, but his big furry tummy as well, which kind of makes you think that if a bear can hula hoop with all that fur, anybody can!
Pavel claims he only uses treats to teach Tima tricks, but PETA associate director Mimi Bekhechi has been very vocal about it all. She told The Sun, “Bears belong in nature. They do not belong in captivity, where they are trained with force to do something uncomfortable and baffling, over and over again. This bear has been deprived of all that is natural, pleasant and meaningful, simply for an archaic form of human amusement. Russian circuses are among the worst in the world, and behind the tents, you will find whips, chains and metal boxes. Bears are even beaten with metal bars and burned with cigarettes. They are treated as if they were nothing more than unfeeling, windup toys. These highly social, intelligent animals suffer from debilitating loneliness and depression when they are isolated from their families. Many retaliate by attacking their captors.”
While that may be the case for some circus bears in Russia, our intuition says otherwise when it comes to Tima. Maybe Tima’s not where he would typically be otherwise, but he looks to us like he’s a pretty happy bear. In fact, Tima even seemed pretty quick to give the guy a hug.