There are 42 days to go before the 2014 World Cup, and the fever for the game has already begun. The famous United Buddy Bears now line the shores of Rio de Janeiro to represent world peace ahead of the kick-off of the event in June in Brazil.
The famous United Buddy Bears exhibit has found its way to the shores of Rio de Janeiro just in time for the 2014 soccer World Cup.
Buddy Bears representing 141 different countries line the shores of Rio de Janeiro to welcome the 2014 World Cup.
The painted bears represent 141 different countries and stand side-by-side to symbolize a vision for world peace. The bear exhibit started in Berlin in 2002 and has travelled the world with stops in 28 countries on five continents since the original exhibition.
According to the organization's website, more than 30 million people have been able to see the bears in person and the charity has raised more than 2 million euros or 2.8 million dollars for UNICEF and local children's relief organizations through auctions and other activities.
German Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Harald Klein, was fundamental in bringing the exhibit to Rio. He said the bears bring with them a message of tolerance and unity.
"The bears represent understanding between peoples, tolerance, being multi-cultured, the protection of national cultures and for friendship around the globe - standing together and holding hands for peace."
On their first day on display the colourful bears were already making waves on the picturesque sands of Rio's Leme Beach.
The bears will be on display through to July 20, spanning the month-long soccer World Cup, which will be hosted in Rio and 11 other Brazilian cities from June 12 until July 13, giving tens of thousands of travellers the opportunity to see the exhibit firsthand.
Each of the bears is designed by an artist from its home country. Several have been auctioned off to raise money for the cause only to be replaced by a different bear. A new Brazilian bear will be unveiled soon.