National Geographic & ITV
To some people, it’s worth paying up to $2,500 for the thrill of shooting a Russian bear, and it’s perfectly legal. Even though hunters are supposed to avoid shooting bears with cubs, inevitably, many young bears are orphaned each year.
Orphaned cubs normally die soon after their mothers’ death, but some get lucky. Biologist Valentin Pazhitnov and his wife Svetlana devote their lives to caring for orphan cubs. At one time a professional hunter paid by the State and licensed to kill brown bears, Valentin developed a passion for saving the species instead. His special bear orphanage makes it possible to do what historically has been considered impossible – reintroduce young bears into the wild even after they’ve had extensive contact with human beings.
The show follows Valentin and Svetlana’s work with four-month-old cubs Tossa and Tana, orphaned after a hunt. Being able to give the two cubs back their freedom is sweet reward for all the work that went into their care.