Pilots at Russian airfield care for a bear

Mansur was discovered in 2016 on an airfield in the Tver region, nobody has seen any trace of his parents. The cub had no chance to survive in wild nature, so the pilots decided to take care of him on their own, accepting advice and help from the region's biologists. Courtesy: REUTERS / ANDREI IVANOV / CBS NEWSPATH
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Kaluga Region, Russia (Reuters / CBS Newspath) -- Aviation personnel at the Oreshkovo airfield in Russia's Kaluga region, some 124 miles southwest of Moscow, have a special pet living right in a cordoned off area of an airfield -- a three-year-old brown bear named Mansur.

Most of the pilots and aviation engineers participate in raising Mansur but private pilot Andrei Ivanov's input cannot be exaggerated. Ivanov is the only person who can enter Mansur's cage and play with the bear without risk to life and limb. The now three-year-old animal weighs about 551 pounds and can easily overpower any human.

The key of establishing such a close connection was constant good-natured communication, says Ivanov, who over the course of the years has become Mansur's father.

Mansur was discovered in 2016 on an airfield in the Tver region, nobody has seen any trace of his parents. The cub had no chance to survive in wild nature, so the pilots decided to take care of him on their own, accepting advice and help from the region's biologists.

Ivanov shared the lab ours of upbringing with Reuters. Along with his colleague, Andrei Petrov, they spend between $470 and $770 for Mansur's needs. The pair have turned to animal lovers across the nation to help raise funds. They set up a YouTube channel showing snippets of the Mansur's daily life and funny moments, as well as a 24-hour live feed of his area. His followers on social media number in the thousands.

According to a webpage for donation set up by Ivanov and his colleagues, they have so far managed to raise more than $46,000 over the past three years.

The bear has also become somewhat of a local celebrity with locals flocking to the airfield with treats of all sorts. Like every bear, Mansur has a weakness for honey - the safest way to feed the bear some of it, is to put a little on the bars of his cage. Apart from that Mansur loves apples, oranges and pomegranates.

Unlike bears in zoos, Mansur enjoys a relatively large territory to explore and play around. However, the pilot's plans on developing the bear's home do not end here - this summer Andrei and his colleagues hope to build a swimming pool which will be a huge help during the hot days.