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Beauties and the Beast: Russian Models Pose With Stepan, the Russian Bear

The people-friendly bear was coaxed into different poses by his trainer with the help of mozzarella and sweet cookies, two of his favorites treats

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This article originally appeared at My Modern Met


Russian photographer Olga Barantseva captured these incredible shots of beautiful models posing with a giant brown bear in a snowy forest near Moscow. The images look straight out of a fairytale, showing a softer side to the big predator. As part of an anti-hunting campaign, the extraordinary photos are meant to "show the natural harmony between humans and bears," according to Barantseva.

The bear, named Stepan, weighs more than 1,400 pounds and stands at a height of over 7 feet, but he is completely docile and willing to pose with his human collaborators. Stepan was rescued from hunters as a cub by his owner, professional circus trainer Yury Panteleenko. The bear was raised to be people-friendly, and has played roles in over 20 Russian films. For this shoot, Stepan was coaxed into different poses by his trainer with the help of mozzarella and sweet cookies, two of his favorites treats.


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