Forty years ago wild bears were a common feature in Turkey as they danced with their owners.

This photograph I came across recently could have been taken on the street I lived on in Cihangir, Istanbul in 1969.

Every few months you would hear excited cries from the local kids ‘Ayı, ayi’ – Turkish for bear.

The man and his bear would walk slowly along the street until they came to a suitable space, and had gathered a sufficient audience, and the bear would dance.

Of course animal welfare laws removed all the bears from the streets decades ago.

Forty years on the wild bears in Turkey are now endangered – and dancing bears a distant memory.

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