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These photos are … interesting.
Bears are great. Their massive size, coupled with their cuddly looks is enough to warm the coldest of hearts. But they are a creature best enjoyed from afar. Bears are also incredibly efficient killing machines, a fact you forget at your own peril. Unless, of course, you want to hang out with a Russian grizzly bear named Stepan, who seems more into taking pictures with sexy women than crushing their skulls with his powerful jaws.
Stepan is a roughly 24-year-old bear/Instagram model whose account is full of him posing with beautiful women in strangely romantic scenarios.
According to Vice, Russian couple Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko adopted the bear as cub when he was just 3 months old after finding him in “less than ideal conditions.” They have raised him for the past 24 years. He appears to be a gentle giant who has posed with pregnant women and even children.
He’s also appeared in more than a dozen movies, and he once officiated a wedding—or at least posed for some pictures that made it look like he did.
“There are no such bears in nature,” boasts the bear’s official website, as translated from Russian. “He is intelligent, kind, and fabulously beautiful. You can approach him and not only pat, but also sit on his massive back, hold his powerful paw.”
Stepan is a bear for hire if you’re looking to film a movie, commercial, or even parties if you “want to really surprise the guests.”
It should be noted that not everyone is thrilled with Stepan’s treatment. After his wedding photo shoot went viral, Cosmopolitan ran a scathing piece, calling the couples use of the bear “seriously disturbing” and saying it was both unethical and dangerous.
Svetlana and Yuriy say they love the bear, though, and consider themselves to be his “second parents.”
If that’s true, it’s certainly unusual that they are around for their son’s sexy photoshoots.
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.