Joaquin Phoenix is calling for a Florida reserve to free two bears that inspired “Brother Bear”.
The Bearadise Ranch, which says it aims to “educate and generate public awareness for habitat preservation and conservation for all bear species” also offers up the bears on the ranch for movie and television projects as well as fairs and festivals.
Bruno and Bambi, who inspired the Disney movie that Phoenix voiced, live at the ranch.
After learning from PETA about the bears, the actor and activist penned a letter to have the bears moved to “an accredited sanctuary.”
In the letter obtained by THR, Phoenix writes, “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.”
He adds, “You know firsthand that bears are curious, complex animals who love to climb, dig, forage, and play. 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.”
According to the publication, the ranch came under fire earlier this year for allegedly allowing a local news crew to feed the bears without protective barriers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they were “violating state wildlife laws.”