In the wilds of Russia, a small airstrip lies in wait for the few aircraft that use it to access the small towns within the Kaluga region. While not overly busy, it is home to one of the most unusual inhabitants: an adorable bear.
The bear’s name is Mansour, and a few years ago, he arrived on the runway seemingly out of nowhere. In the early days of his life, Mansour used the airfield as a playground, climbing on step ladders, picnic benches, and even wandering in and out of the small planes themselves!
Mansour has been given the nickname ‘the air bear’ as he’s so attached to the flying equipment that he’s surrounded by. As a cub, he was extremely playful, good natured, and attracted lots of attention from the humans that used the airfield.
One pilot in particular, Andrei, took care of the cub as if he was his father, ensuring he was well fed and had everything he needed to survive. Andrei fully understands the difficulty of raising a bear away from the wild, and is aware that one day he will likely return to the vast forests of Russia.
But he knew that leaving the bear all by himself would be akin to a death sentence, so he did everything he could to make sure Mansour was looked after. Andrei and his fellow pilots tried to find a home for Mansour, and were eventually given the details of a reserve where they were promised that he would be taken care of.
However, Andrei had a bad feeling about the people and quickly wanted to get Mansour back. It turned out they had taken him to a hunting facility, so the pilots arrived, determined to retrieve their friend and return him to the airfield.
Mansour was acting frantically in his cage, but when he saw Andrei and was released, he jumped lovingly into his arms and was overjoyed that his human friend had come to his rescue.
Andrei decided that he couldn’t risk sending Mansour away again, so together with his other pilot friends, they raised money to build an enclosure for Mansour, and even studied animal psychology so he could understand how best to love and care for the bear.
He now has a big open space to play and exercise in and he remains in daily contact with his human friends. Amazingly, Mansour follows a vegetarian diet, and has turned down the offer of raw meat and fish when Andrei has tried to encourage him to eat more like a bear. Instead, he enjoys berries, seeds, eggs, and bread!
After living with Andrei and the other pilots for three years, they never once saw a single sign of aggression from Mansour, even if he was sick.
In the wonderful video, you can see how Mansour and Andrei’s relationship blossomed and what is truly possible when humans and animals live together!
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/BwSxOISuV_g