This one bear’s story is emblematic of the success of the organisations that campaigned long and hard to end the suffering of performing bears and outlaw their use in travelling circuses and shows in Greece. Arcturos was originally set up to achieve this objective and GAWF/Animal Action also played a very active role, extending the ban to all animals. Giorgos could be confiscated because attitudes to dancing bears and holding wild animals in captivity have changed so much in Greece – and elsewhere – and laws have gradually been revised to reflect this. In 2012 Greece became the first country in the EU to ban all animal performances.
Giorgos found dignity and companionship at the rescue centre, where his uniqueness, his glossy coat and quiet demeanour made him popular with visitors. Staff reported that he was gentle but also stubborn. After his pretty rocky start in life I guess no one much begrudged his occasionally behaving like… a bit of a bear.