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Abandoned At 3 Months Old, This Bear Has Lived With His Rescuers for 23 Years

He once was a tiny little cubby with no family of his own. But now, he’s grown up to be a 300-pound lap bear that they call their best friend.

Twenty-three years ago, some hunters in Russia stumbled upon a 3-month-old bear cub that had been abandoned by its mother. The bear was in terrible condition so the hunters took pity on it. Svetlana and Yurily Panteleenko learned of the bear’s plight and took him to their home.


There, they nursed the bear back to health and named him Stepan. They took great care of the wild bear because they’ve now had him for twenty-three years. Little did they know then that Stepan would grow up to be a 7-foot-tall and 300-pound giant bear.

But Stepan’s large size doesn’t faze the Panteleenko’s. He’s very gentle with them even though he towers over humans. To them, he’s nothing but a cuddly and affectionate lap bear who loves hugging and snuggling with his human family.


The bear has done well acclimating to domestic life, the only life he’s ever really known. Thankfully, he’s never shown any aggression toward people and enjoys living with humans. He also likes to do chores around the house, like watering plants.

“He loves people and is a sociable bear – despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all. We have never been bitten by Stepan.”


Stepan also has an active social life and gets lots of attention outside of his home. He loves doing things like playing football and even acts as a model for films and photoshoots. We can certainly see why because he is a very handsome bear.

But he also enjoys his downtime. He likes to be read to and watch television cuddled up with his little family, “Stepan likes nothing more than to cuddle up with us on the sofa at night while we’re watching television.”


But, taking care of Stepan is not for the faint of heart. Not only is he huge and powerful, but he also has a big appetite. Every day he eats up to 25 kg of fish, eggs, and vegetables. His favorite treat is condensed milk.

We think that Stepan is the cutest Bear we’ve ever seen. He’s such a lucky guy to have found such kind people to take him in and care for him. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened to him had it not been for the Panteleenko’s being willing to care for him.


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