(Video provided by Sky News)
Animal rights groups have condemned the exploitation of a bear for a third division league game in Russia.
The circus bear, called 'Tim', was trained to hand the match ball to the referee of the clash between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk.
After being led out onto the side of the pitch before kick-off, the bear lead a round of applause whilst stood on his hind legs.
He then passes the ball to the referee after being prompted by his handler. © The TelegraphThe circus bear, called 'Tim', was trained to hand the match ball to the referee of the clash between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk.
The performance, which comes just a few months before the start of the World Cup in Russia, has been called 'inhumane' by animal rights campaigners.
"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright dangerous," Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare charity Peta told BBC Sport.
"The bear is the symbol of Russia, so we hope the country's people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them. Common decency should compel the league to pull this stunt." © The TelegraphAnimal rights groups have condemned the exploitation of a bear for a third division league game in Russia.
Brian da Cal, country director of Four Paws UK, told the BBC:"While some supposedly find this depressing scene 'entertaining' there is nothing at all light-hearted about this kind of abuse.
"Bears are wild animals and as such have very specific and complex needs.
"Being chained up, muzzled and forced to perform unnatural acts in front of large, rowdy crowds of people causes tremendous stress and can have an untold impact on these animals, both psychological and physical."
FIFA have denied suggestions that the bear could be used in the World Cup opening ceremony.