Lonely Planet Writer

Tajiks bid to build a statue in memory of famous Bear Man of Dushanbe

Netizens of Tajikistan are trying to immortalise one of their capital city’s most well-known citizens with a statue. An online initiative has suggested that a statue be built in honour of Talabshoh Sheikhov, better known as the ‘Bear Man of Dushanbe’.

Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Image by Dan Lundberg / CC BY-SA 2.0

The white-bearded Sheikhov was often seen on the streets of Dushanbe with his pet bear, Maria, sometimes posing for pictures, taking public buses and giving rides to children. Sheikhov purportedly raised the bear from a cub, feeding her bottles of milk. Many residents of Dushanbe remember the duo fondly, though some have expressed concerns over animal rights. Sheikhov passed away in 2013 and Maria the bear died only two months later. Netizens expressed overwhelming support for the statue, saying the pair were the ‘calling card of Dushanbe’. Read more: rferl.org