Nestled in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Oswald’s Bear Ranch, is a haven for orphaned bear cubs so that they can grow up safely. The bear cubs at Oswald’s Bear Ranch were orphaned after their mothers were killed. Some were killed accidentally by cars, others by loggers or guns. Before Oswald’s Bear Ranch, orphaned cubs would either be sent to zoos or killed, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In the video above, bears at Oswald’s Bear Ranch are shown within their refuge, which is open to the public. They are so tame, a young man is able to enter the cage and interact for a brief moment, but they are distracted when their caregiver approaches on a four-wheeled-vehicle with their meals. They follow him.
“Come on,” he yells alerting the other bears that lunch is served. Included on the menu that day were oranges and peaches from a local school. “During the week, we get a 55-gallon drum from the big school that’s filled about halfway full.”
When Dean Oswald, an ex-marine, first started rescuing bear cubs, neighbors would stop by to see them. After awhile, according to the Detroit Free Press report, Oswald’s Bear Ranch, opened his doors to the public. In the beginning, Dean would let visitors cuddle with the smallest bear cubs and feed them. After a visitor complained to the federal government though, that practice of cuddling the babies had to end.
“We did it for 25 years and never had a problem,” Dean Oswald told the Free Press. “We used to let people hold on to them, let the bears hang on to them and suckle on their neck and ears. And suddenly we got shut down.”
The refuge has had other problems along the way, but it is considered an Upper Peninsula destination point.
Dean still loves feeding the bears that he once bottle fed. Oswald’s Bear Ranch explained on its Facebook page that Dean wants them to eat good now to put on weight for the winter. Dean says that around Oswald’s Bear Ranch, he’s not just their caregiver.
“They’re my babies,” Oswald said, “And I’m their mama.”
Inquisitr previously reported about another bear rescuer. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist Adam Warwick once rescued a wild black bear from drowning. Warwick had to jump into the Gulf of Mexico to save the 375-pound black bear.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Oswald’s Bear Ranch is at 13814 County Road 407 (H-37) in Newberry, Michigan. The refuge is open to the public daily through Sept. 30 and admission is $20 per car. Oswald’s Bear Ranch has grown to encompass 240 acres of land in the Upper Peninsula.
[Photo via Facebook]