The doting father bear can’t help cuddling his cub

Apr 10th, 2011 | By | Category: All Kinds of Everything

10.4.2011 – Posted by Crissi, Source: MailOnLine

From Russia with love:

This is the touching moment a baby bear gets swept up in a big cuddle – from her affectionate father.

What makes the photographs, taken at a zoo in eastern Russia, so fascinating is that most male bears have nothing to do with their cubs and leave the rearing to females.

But Balu is more hands-on than most with four-month-old daughter Diva and is content to give her a proper bear hug.

Bear your soul: Father Balu has formed an unusually tight bond with his female cub Diva

He even appears to be blowing a raspberry on her tummy while mother Masha looks on. Keepers at Primorsky Zoo in Russia were stunned by Balu’s unusual devotion to his daughter.

Zoo director Elena Aseidulina, 34, who took the photographs, said: ‘The father, against all laws of nature, is very caring and loving with the cubs

‘Normally, it is the mother that looks after the children, but Balu is the exception.

‘He is a real example of a good father


Can I have a cuddle Daddy? Cub Diva reaches up to his father for some affection

Care bear: Balu appears to blow a raspberry on the tummy of baby Diva at the Primorsky Zoo in eastern Russia

Balu and Masha have been living at the zoo since 2002 after they were rescued by Russian militia from poachers. The pair have settled in well – and are clearly enjoying their roles as parents.

Keepers also noticed that Balu has taken on nearly all the traditional ‘female’ roles carried out by brown bears – including teaching their young about the dangers of the world.

Miss Aseidulina said: ‘Balu taught Diva to swim in the pool – she looked to her mother for help but Masha was totally calm and obviously trusted her “husband”.

Family portrait: Balu cuddles daughter Diva while giving mother Masha a reassuring pat on the head

‘Balu would hold her under water to teach her that swimming is an essential skill for a bear – but he always knew how long she could stay under for, and would pull her out and keep her safe.

‘When Masha is feeding Diva, 14-year-old Balu waits patiently for his turn to play with her.’

The zoo director added: ‘Once, I saw him patting the mother’s paw as if to say “Hurry up, it’s my turn to play!”‘

‘It always takes my breath away when I see them playing like this.

‘It just makes you realise that these animals have the same feelings as we do. I wanted to take pictures to show others how touching and heartwarming these animals can be.’

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  1. Dear Crissi,

    Thank you so much for presenting this lovely bear family to us!

    If this isn’t heart warming I don’t know what is!!! Simply wonderful!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Dear Mervi and crissi,
    thank you so much for presenting this lovely article about the complete family life of a bear familiy.
    The impresions from Nurnberg and the latest news from Hellabrunn (Giovanna and Yoghi mated) kept me thinking of the abandonned male who has to wait more than two years until being re-united with the female partner.

    Hugs, caren

  3. Dear crissi,
    These pictures are so precious! What a joy it is
    to see the love and connection in this bear family.
    Thank you so much. xo k-j

  4. Liebe Crissi
    Danke für diese schöne Geschichte.

  5. Liebe Crissi!

    Schönheit. Schönheit. WUNDERBÄRE.



  6. Crissi,

    What a heartwarming story of an exceptional bear father. It brings a smile to me. Balu and Masha are wonderful parents and little Diva is obviously their pride and joy. One can almost feel the love energy flowing among them. They are bonding so well. I wish we could have regular reports from Russia on this amazing bear family. I love this story.
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Much appreciated.

  7. Very nice family story xoxo, Tish

  8. Dear Crissi,

    Wow, what a story! Thank you Crissi for finding this and sharing it with us. What is so wonderful is the trust between mother Masha and father Balu. Remarkable!

    Hugs, Sarsam

  9. Birgit aus Rodriguez hatte den Artikel eigentlich entdeckt und bei sich gepostet
    – insofern gebührt ihr der Dank, ich hatte es ja auch so bei Knutitours verlinkt! 😉


  10. Dear Crissi, Mervi and Birgit aus Rodriguez
    A heartwarming story. Thank you.
    Hugs Inge

  11. Mein Gott, ist das goldig. Die Bilder könnte ich mir pausenlos ansehen!
    Danke fürs Zeigen liebe CRISSI und liebe MERVI und, wie ich eben in Knutitours las, wohl auch liebe BIRGIT (die Dame vonne Insel) 🙂