Animals

They Call This 1,400lb Kodiak Bear Their 'Son' Jimbo

Nuzzling up to a giant bear with huge claws is a nightmare for some people, but for Jim and Susan Kowalczik, who run the Orphaned Wildlife Center in upstate New York, it's just one of the perks of the job.

The bear in question is Jimbo, one of the 11 orphaned or injured bears the Kowalczik's look after.

He loves playing with his best bear-friend Leo, chomping on 30 pounds of red meat every day, and eating the occasional marshmallow for a treat.

While he may look intimidating, the couple say Jimbo is "extremely friendly," and he loves a good snuggle.


Jimbo was born almost 23 years ago in an animal park on the West coast. Since he was born in captivity, he's very comfortable around humans, and doesn't have the killer instincts to survive in the wild.

When Jimbo suffered a leg injury, he was moved out to the Orphaned Wildlife Center, where Jim and Susan have treated him like family ever since.

"Jimmy is my best friend," Jim says, "It doesn't get any better than that. He just loves you for you."

And people love Jimbo back. He's become the star of the Wildlife Center's Facebook page, which has been 'liked' by more than 100,000 people.

Jim isn't oblivious to the risks of napping with a bear four times his size, saying that "all he'd have to do is lay on you," and it would be lights out for Jim. Still, they take the risks and rewards of looking after these gentle giants in stride.

"Our bear family is like every other family," Susan says, "you love them to death but then there are times when they drive you nuts."

Jimbo getting on my nerves isn't the first thing I would worry about, but these two clearly know what they're doing.

You have to admit after all, Jimbo is pretty cute.

Share if you wish you could feed Jimbo a marshmallow!

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