A circus in St. Petersburg trains bears to do high-wire tightrope walking.
But now, in what's sure to spark outrage from animal protection groups, the Bolshoi Circus in Russia is coercing brown bears to balance on the high wire.
Troupe leader Alexander Ivanov admits his bears do suffer from a fear of heights -- but that's not stopping him from taking their feet off the ground.
He insists that both the human performers and the muzzled bears in his circus are equal.
Ivanov inherited the idea of incorporating bear rope walkers into his troupe from his father Mikhail, a renowned star in Soviet times.