Unlike Rani, the poor bear cub in India who was separated from her human or the hundred of bears who are hunted for their bile in South-east Asia, this story of a Russian couple who adopted an orphan bear gives us hope in humanity.
Stepan, the bear cub, lost his mother to hunters and was found in the forest clawing his way to life. Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko, the Russian couple adopted him when he was just three months of age, a little fur ball. 23 years later, standing a gorgeous 2.1 meters tall, weighing in at 136 kilograms, Stepan is still the friendly bear he once was.
The couple and the bear grew so fond of each other that the Panteleenkos finished a course on ‘animal training’ just so that the Russian authorities would allow them to keep the bear. Given the fact that bears live an average of 25 years, provided they survive the dreadful hunters, it’s needless to say the couple have been exceptional parents.
“Stepan absolutely loves people and is a really sociable bear – despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all. We have never been roared, rushed or bitten by Stepan. We do not train him, but instead educate him on how to play.” ~Svetlana
Unlike the movie roles that come his way, where Stepan plays a rabid destroyer of everything in sight, the real life gentle bear uses his celebrity status to promote anti-hunting campaigns. Leonardo di Caprio would be proud of Stepan!
Stepan has also modeled for an anti-hunting campaign with Russian model Maria Sidorova.
Reminds me of The Bear’s tagline ― The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live. And what thrill might have graced the couple and the bear both. Good and all things righteous always find a way to manifest and inspire everyone. We’re all not lucky to have a Stepan – ah well, may not be the bear hugs, some puppy love instead? Click to adopt.