Joker star Joaquin Phoenix is asking a Florida park to transfer some bears used in Brother Bear to an animal sanctuary. Some people may not realize that the Academy Award winner played Kenai in the Disney movie. But, when he became aware that Florida's Bearadise Ranch was home to the animals that inspired the characters in the film, he wrote a letter asking for their transfer to "an accredited sanctuary." (credit THR for transcription) Phoenix has been a staunch advocate for animals and worked with PETA in the past. The organization brought this situation to more people's attention. The Bearadise Ranch says the they try to "educate and generate public awareness for habitat preservation and conservation for all bear species." But, some believe that having the animals in a less entertainment-based setting might be better for the bears in the long run. Phoenix's letter is long and thoughtful, you can read it all down below:
"I just learned that two of the bears used in your traveling show, Bambi and Bruno, served as models for Disney's Brother Bear. I voiced the movie's main character, Kenai, who, as a lesson in empathy, is magically transformed to be able to see the world through bears' eyes, and now I'm asking you to see through their eyes, too," Phoenix explained. "These bears deserve better than a life on the road, where they are robbed of everything that's natural and important to them, and if you put yourself in their place, I'm sure you'd see that, too."
"You know firsthand that bears are curious, complex animals who love to climb, dig, forage, and play," the star continued. "Their acute sense of smell and plate-sized paws evolved so that they could seek out mates and food across vast distances, but those carefully honed traits are wasted on the county fair circuit, where they're relegated to transport cages when they're not pulling hoops over their heads and carrying basketballs around in front of crowds of strangers."
"Bambi and Bruno will never experience life in the wild. They'll never get to sniff out salmon runs or traverse mountains—but that doesn't mean their lives can't improve. Will you please consider putting an end to the tricks and the travel and give all the bears at your facility the chance just to live like bears? If you want to do what's truly the best thing for them, let me help you make arrangements to get them transferred to an accredited sanctuary," he concluded.
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