Under the heading of “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME” is the idea of being hugged by a bear. Not the mascot of Chicago’s football team, or the lovable losers of the north side, but an honest to goodness, real, nine and a half foot tall, 1,500 pound Kodiak bear.
Well, one bear out there gives hugs to humans. His name is Jimbo and he lives at the Orphaned Wildlife Center in New York, a sanctuary for animals that cannot survive in the wild. His friend, former corrections officer Jim Kowalczik who is a staff member at the facility, was videotaped by another member of the team with Jimbo and while the commenters have gone wild both loving the image and wondering if Jimbo considers Jim lunch, potentially, the video has taken on a life of its own.
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As it happens, Jimbo was born and raised in captivity. He is 21 years old, and, for him, humans are his companions. Watching the video, he does not realize that he is a bear…not unlike the last dog owned by members of this household who was honestly more humane than most humans. That does not mean that Jimbo is not a potentially dangerous animal, just that he is not likely to attack the people caring for him for no good reason. (If they don’t feed him, or start teasing the bear, all those kisses and hugs won’t be so sweet. This is the argument those commenting on the video have been having.)
Jimbo is one of eleven bears living at the Orphaned Wildlife Center. He is said to be extremely friendly with people and very good natured. That does not mean that the average human should try to procure a hug from him – or any other bear – unless the person knows what they are doing. After all, one television personality became red meat for a few wild grizzlies. If that “expert” (idiot, actually) became lunch, so could any number of other people.