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Dream Job Alert: Michigan DNR is Hiring Bear Cub Cuddlers

This week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources clued us in to a dream job we didn’t realize exists: professional baby-bear snuggler. And guess what? They’re hiring.

That’s not the whole job (unfortunately), but cuddling cubs is actually an important part of the research process when crews do check-ups on surrogate mama bears. 

Here’s the deal (according to the department’s recent Twitter thread). Sometimes, researchers find orphaned baby bears who can’t survive on their own. To help give them a chance, they use GPS tracking collars to locate healthy mama bears with young cubs who could adopt the orphan. Occasionally, they check in on the mama bear — also called a sow — to upgrade her collar and do a health check-up and weigh-in. 

Her young cubs, at just 3 to 6 pounds each, don’t have enough body fat to keep warm on their own while researchers work with the sedated sow. That’s where the cuddle team comes in. Each bear gets tucked safely inside a staff member’s jacket for warmth for about an hour until the exam is complete. Then, they’re returned back to mama’s loving care.

When the time comes to rehome an orphaned cub, the team will again locate the sow using her radio collar. Then, they basically trick her into thinking the orphan was her baby all along. “To defend her youngins from us, she shoos them up a tree and then runs away, hoping to lure danger away from the cubs,” Michagan DNR tweeted. “While she’s gone, we place the cub on the tree and say farewell.”

The team slathers the tree trunk with a scented goo that sticks to all the cubs when they climb down from the tree, so that they all smell the same. When mama bear comes back, she’ll treat the new cub like her own.

Sound like your kind of gig? Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is hiring seasonal employees for their wildlife team, which may involve handling wildlife surveys in the spring and summer months. 

It’s important to note that these professional cub cuddlers are specially trained to interact with adult bears and their cubs. While they look soft and adorable, these cubs are wild animals with serious claws. (And mama is rarely far away.) If you spot a bear out in the wild, keep your distance, give it plenty of space, and find an alternate route. And whatever you do, don’t sacrifice your slower hiking buddy to get away.

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  1. Shirley Black

    Are you willing to train older people I’m in my sixties but I’m pretty spry.. and I love animals no matter what kind they are I didn’t be willing to hug a skunk to a point…

  2. Shirley Black

    Are you willing to train older people I’m in my sixties but I’m pretty spry.. and I love animals no matter what kind they are.
    I’d even
    be willing to hug a skunk to a point…

  3. Morgan Whitehead

    Would love to have an experience like this! Life-long animal lover and enthusiast, located near Rapid River in MI UP, and have a 4×4 F 150 and ATV. Eagerly awaiting response!? Morgan
    [email protected]. 218 343v 3004

  4. Ideal job right here!! Oh, the amazing things we can do to help research, wildlife, and the ultimate goal of connection. What a beautiful opportunity we have here!

  5. Rebecca follette

    Sounds great we had a good size bear at our side door and yard, it wasn’t afraid of my son when he opened the door to leave, I’m hearing impaired and don’t want to feel fear if Im in my yard I have 12 deer and 14 turkeys coming in my yard , I wanted to be a forest ranger in Cleveland metropark when I grew up it was just around the corner 5 min drive, so learning more about them would be a dream come true

  6. So glad we are setting up adoption for bears!!! But we are killing human beings (abortion!). Thanks democrats!!!!!

    1. Anthony Gibbs

      Awww…..I just hope Mama Bear does rip your face off in a moment of pique.

      I meant to say NOT rip your face off….

      My bad.

  7. Tyler E Forrest

    Hello im Tyler I am 25 yrs of age engaged to my Fiance RJ Forrest and we live in Sherwood Mi. We live on a pretty decent sized acer farm, We as in family owned have cows, horses chickens and believe me over the years helped my grandfather who pasted last year and my grandma who is going to be 74 do many little task and nurturing animals specially baby animals back to health. Ahh so I am currently unemployed so time is not an issue my time is dedicated to this farm and helping my grandma and continue to her and grandpas traditions.

  8. Jamie Koski

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I believe I am the perfect candidate for this position as my love language is affection. I am a mother and a dog owner so I have a superlative nurturing nature as well as a tolerance for stank. I adore all living creatures and feel most at home in the outdoors. Please consider me.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Jamie Koski

  9. Pingback: To Hold Them - Breadcrumbs

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