Gulden's bears, Bertram Mills' Circus

Gulden's bears, Bertram Mills' Circus

This was the first time Gulden's bears had performed in the UK. As well as riding round on a motorbike, the bears performed a version of a chimps' tea party which inevitably ended in an enormous amount of mess. The programme reminded the audience that although they didn't look dangerous, they should not be taken for granted. Bears are the most dangerous of all circus animals and were responsible for more injuries and fatalities than all the big cats put together. Although they are relatively easy to train and are quick to pick up tricks, they never become entirely reliable in their behaviour - hence the muzzles and chains. A bear can at any moment revert to its instinct as a hunter and turn on its trainer and it is very difficult to see the attack coming because bears' faces and body language are not as easy to read as those of other animals.