Saturday, September 10, 2011

Man and Polar Bear Best Friends

Animal trainer Mark Abbot Dumas is the only man in the world who can be this close to a polar bear.

Back on dry land he wrestles with the 60-stone (800lb) beast in her enclosure and bravely lets Agee clamp her huge jaws around his head.

With links to Hollywood through previous work with animals, Mark was approached by director Fraser Heston – the son of screen legend Charlton – 16 years ago.
Heston needed a polar bear cub for his forthcoming film Alaska and Mark found Agee – a surplus cub at Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden.
Mark and Dawn went through a lengthy application to show they had the facilities to care for her.
After being approved they transported the tiny cub – seen here at their old family home in Mission, BC, just after her arrival – to Canada

In the evenings Agee is fed on mountains of protein-rich salmon, chicken or other meats, along with carbohydrates she gets from high-quality dog food and vitamin supplements.
‘In the wild she would be eating seal but we can’t buy that so we have to try and replicate a fat-rich diet,’ said Mark.
‘Because they scavenge in the summer – when they are off the sea ice and on dry land – they have very adaptable diets.
Amazingly, Agee seems to have favourites between men and women.
‘She gets very jealous of other women talking to Mark,’ said Dawn.
‘She’s happy with me doing it but if any other women are around she gets very possessive of him.’

image credits