HomeOutdoorsNews‘Professional Bear Huggers’ Wanted By New Mexico Wildlife Agency

‘Professional Bear Huggers’ Wanted By New Mexico Wildlife Agency

by Brett Stayton
Bear Huggers Needed In New Mexico
Photo by Alan Powdrill/Getty Images

Maybe I’m just a little skittish about this idea because I once saw legendary news anchor Brian Fantana be told “He’s a live bear. He will literally rip your face off.” Now, hugging real live panthers though? That’s a different story for a different day. Anyways. Apparently, the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish has no qualms about all that though. They’re actually looking for folks willing to not just try and interview the live bears, but to full on hug them. According to KOAT 7 Action News, the state agency is seeking to hire “bear huggers.” The deadline to apply for the gig is the end of the month.

Yeah. That’s a real thing. However, the job does entail much more than just cuddling up to some bruins though. The social media job posting says that applicants “Must have the ability to hike in strenuous conditions, have the courage to crawl into a bear den, and have the trust in your coworkers to keep you safe during the process.”

While hugging bears is a part of the gig, it’s actually a headline-grabbing attempt to recruit the next class of Conservation Officers. While hugging a bear cub during the agency’s annual bear den surveying process is certainly a perk of the job, there’s more to it than that. The agency explains that not all law enforcement field work is that glamorous (or cuddly). The post also goes on to reiterate that they don’t recommend members of the general public go crawling into bear dens along with a reminder not to feed the bears.

New Mexico Bear Cub Found In Dumpster Has Long Road To Recovery

Meanwhile, a specific little bear cub out in New Mexico may be in need of some more hugs than usual. The roughly year-old black bear was discovered on the verge of death inside of an urban dumpster when he became trapped. With nothing inside to eat and the inability to climb out, the little cub began starving to death. The bear was found and rescued just in time.

When the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish picked up Dawn, he couldn’t even open his mouth or chew. The bear cub was in need of intensive expert care. This is where Dr. Kathleen Ramsey, founder of Cottonwood Rehab outside Española, comes in.

“My assumption is that he is actually another fire cub,” Ramsey tells Taos News. “Mom can run and the baby can’t run to keep up. And the mom’s only thought is to stay alive and the baby’s get left behind. I’m guessing that’s what happened to this cub.” In a typical life for a bear cub, “Mom nurses this bear for 6-9 months and stays and sleeps with that cub throughout that first winter,” she continues. But this is no longer an option. With such advanced starvation, Cottonwood had to start Dawn on a liquid diet. In only a few weeks, his high-protein, high-triglyceride intake has doubled his weight. Once he’s weighing in properly, he’ll become a wild one again.