Story at a glance

  • Bears on the property worked on the 2003 Disney film “Brother Bear.”
  • Phoenix voiced the lead character of Kenai.
  • The website says the bears are available for work in films, television shows and commercials, as well as weddings and “bearthday parties.”

Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix is asking a Florida park to retire two bears that inspired the 2003 Disney film “Brother Bear” from show business. 

The Hollywood Reporter reports Phoenix, who voiced the lead character of Kenai, penned a letter to the Bearadise Ranch in Myakka City, Fla., calling on the facility to transfer Bruno and Bambi to an accredited sanctuary. 

“I just learned that two of the bears used in your traveling show, Bambi and Bruno, served as models for Disney’s Brother Bear,” Phoenix wrote in the letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. 

“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,” the actor wrote. 


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“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,” Phoenix said in closing. 

The facility was established in 1926 to “educate and generate public awareness for habitat preservation and conservation for all bear species,” according to the Bearadise Ranch website

The website says the bears are available for work in films, television shows and commercials, as well as weddings and “bearthday parties.” 

Bearadise Ranch did not immediately respond to Changing America’s request for comment on Phoenix’s request. 


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Published on Aug 02, 2021