Meet the couple that lives with 11 bears

Kindhearted couple see the bears as their children


Many parents struggle to maintain discipline in their home. But spare a thought for Jim and Susan Kowalczik whose main charge is a huge 1400lb Kodiak brown bear.

The couple look after the 9ft giant at their orphanage where they have dedicated their lives to rescuing and releasing injured animals.

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They now care for 11 bears, including Kodiak brown bears, Syrian bears and black bears on their 100 acre estate in Otisville, New York.

Jim says: "Our bear family is like a normal family. We love them to death but other times they drive you nuts, right?

Susan laughs: "I'm here every day, but he's the one that walks in the door and they just light up. It's kind of funny, they just love him to death. And I'm the one that does all the work, and he just has to walk in the door."

And are they ever scared of them? No, but Jim says you have to be careful. "They knock you around a little bit," he explains, "but not maliciously. You have to just watch you don't get scratched or poked in the eye. If they hit you once they could kill you."

Kodiak bears are one of the largest species in the world. One of the Kodiak bears, called Jimmy, who has been with the couple for 21 years since he was a cub, is about 1400lbs and 9ft tall when standing on his hind legs.

They eat around 90lbs of food each a day and feed on meat, grains, berries and sometimes marshmallows for a treat.

Jim said: "They're like your children, that's how much you love them. And they give a lot back to you too, they love you just as much."

He added: "This is our life. We're one big bear family."