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Man Goes On Daily Hikes And Naps With His Five Black Bears

Taking a daily hike each day is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. However, one former biologist has found a way to make his walks even more special. This West Virginian man lives with five black bears and he goes on daily hikes with them. You won’t believe how he gets them to walk along with him!

20. Joel Rosenthal

Image: Facebook

Joel Rosenthal is a 74-year-old former biologist that lives in West Virginia. Unlike other people his age, Rosenthal isn’t off in a nursing home or walking around with a walker. No, in fact, Rosenthal is doing something way more eccentric!

19. Rescuing

Image: Daily Mail

For the past 7 years, Rosenthal has been rescuing and caring for wild black bears in the area. He raises them in his home, a farm in Hillsboro, West Virginia called Point Views Farm. Believe it or not, he has the perfect daily routine that he embarks on…

18. Five Bear Hike

Image: Daily Mail

Rosenthal currently lives with five black bear cubs. Each morning he goes on a hike with them through the wilderness near his farm. Through his time spent with the bears he has developed an incredibly close bond with them.

17. Close Bond

Image: Daily Mail

Taking daily hikes, however, is just one part of the bond that Rosenthal and his bears share. Rosenthal also hand feeds them meat and takes naps with them in their enclosure. “I take naps with them, we play in the house, they get fed in the house,” Rosenthal explains.

16. Greatest Thing

Image: Daily Mail

Rosenthal has stated that there is no better feeling in the world than being close to his bears. “Nothing in this world – not food, not a good night sleep can top going for an hour hike with a bear,” he boldly professed. “Nobody else in the world can do this, nobody else in the world does this.”

15. Unbelievable

Image: Daily Mail

It’s really special to be able to hike around with two or three bear cubs that are just following me. I really have to pinch myself all the time because I can’t believe I’m doing this – that I have this relationship with these animals.”

14. First Bear

Image: Daily Mail

Rosenthal was brought his first bear back in 2009. It was completely unplanned as well, as someone had just brought him over the injured bear in the hopes that he would take the bear in. It turns out that this would be the changing point of his life.

13. Taking Care

Image: Daily Mail

Joel watches over all of his bears until hunting season is over. Once the season is done, he releases the bears back into the wild so that they can continue to live out their lives.

12. Well-behaved

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They don’t go off and become a nuisance, they don’t break into people’s homes, they don’t attack people – they just go off and become wild bears which is exactly what they are genetically programmed to do,” Joel explained.

11. Safe

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Despite what everyone else might think about black bears, Joel does not fear them at all. In fact, he finds that he feels totally fine in their presence. He has stated that because he respects them they in turn respect him back.

10. Stats

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I consider bears to be very, very safe but all the statistics bail that out, regardless of anything that I am prejudiced about. In North America over the last 100 years plus, I believe that there are 60 or 70 documented cases of black bears actually killing anybody,” Joel says. So has Joel ever been attacked?

9. Never Attacked

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Joel himself has stated that he has never been outright attacked by any of his black bears. He has said that he has had small scratches and bruises, but he knows that it is to be expected with such big wild animals. He understands that it is not a malicious act from the bears.

8. Discipline

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I have never been attacked by a bear. I mean we are talking about a 200 or 300 pound animal that is stronger than 10 human beings and quicker than a rattle snake and yet here I am as the doting mother trying to discipline a huge linebacker.”

7. Feeding Time

Image: Facebook

So what do a bunch of black bears eat? Well, Rosenthal tends to feed them meat for the most part. However, there are times when he gives them a special treat!

6. Special Treat

Image: Barcroft Animals

On special occasions, some of his bears get to indulge in peanut butter! One of his bear’s, Waffles, absolutely adores peanut butter as a snack. However, another known as Rose does not. So Joel skips past her during peanut butter time.

5. Seclusion

Image: Daily Mail

Since the farm is a wildlife sanctuary with 262 acres of land separated by a river, Joel is often in seclusion. He can go a month or two without ever getting into contact with another human. However, he doesn’t seem to mind it at all.

4. Happy Camper

Image: YouTube

I’m the only one living on this side of the river for miles,’ he said. “I live all alone. I live miles from the nearest human being and I am a happy camper. I prefer any animal to humans!’

3. A Process

Image: Life Death Prizes

I want the bears to get used to me, I want them to become bound to me so that we have this special relationship which makes the entire process of raising them and eventually releasing them a lot easier.” Even though Joel has owned around 20 bears, facing the reality that hunters have killed some is still hard for him…

2. Hunted

Image: Charleston Gazette

My guess is that almost all of them have been killed by hunters. It’s very, very cruel. It’s not just a matter of shooting and making a clean kill on a bear. It’s barbaric in a way. I try to separate my emotions from it.” Still, Joel is grateful for the opportunity that life has presented him with.

1. Thankful

Image: Mountain Messenger

There is no doubt that my caring for, interacting with and releasing bears into the environment has been very, very special. I mean I’m 74 years old now. This is the combination of my lifelong dream – to have a place like this and it’s all happening,” Joel said. “I have been very lucky in regards to the activation of this dream.”



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