Fearless hikers wanted to work as 'professional bear huggers'

Three black bear cubs climbing tree
(Image credit: Getty)

The New Mexico Department of Fish and Game has posted a job ad looking for fit, enthusiastic hikers to work as "professional bear huggers". 

The department is looking for new conservation officers who will be able to "hike in strenuous conditions, have the courage to crawl into a bear den, and have the trust in your coworkers to keep you safe during the process."

The department chose to tug at potential applicants' heartstrings with photos of its officers holding young bear cubs during a research project in the northern part of the state, but notes that not all work will be so glamorous. 

Applicants will also need more than just a love of wildlife. As CNN explains, the official job requirements listed on the recruitment website include a degree in biological sciences, political science, law enforcement, ecology, or a related field from an accredited college or university. Applicants will also undergo physical testing and a written wildlife exam as part of the pre-interview process.

The department is keen to note that members of the public should never approaching bears or crawl into their dens, and "If you do, our officers will have to have a chat with you."

That might sound like a joke, but some people do need to be told. Only last month a man shared a video of himself crawling into a cave in Washington to follow a mountain lion. Backed into a corner, the animal could easily have become aggressive – particularly after the man made the mistake of turning his back.

For advice on how to keep yourself safe during a close encounter, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear, and what to do if you meet a mountain lion.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.