As adorable and cuddly as they look, polar bears are wild animals that humans are best off keeping their distance from, generally speaking. Mark Dumas is an exception, however. He and a polar bear named Agee have had a special bond since the bear was just a cub 18 years ago. Even now, as Agee is over 1,000 pounds, they’re closer than ever.
- Dumas has worked as an animal trainer for movies for decades. Nearly 20 years ago, he was asked to find a polar bear for a movie and he heard about an 8-week-old that was being hand-reared at a zoo. The mother polar bear had 10 cubs and couldn’t care for this little baby, who Dumas would later come to know as Agee.
- He began caring for Agee himself. Not only did he train her for the movie but he looked after her, feeding her, providing her with medical care, and forming an incredible bond with the animal in the meantime. “It’s my job, and it’s what I had to do, and then as I’m doing it, I became very, very attached to her,” he told Animal Planet.
- There are no other relationships like this between a polar bear and a human. They are truly obsessed with one another and they trust each other completely. As Dumas explains, “I love her a lot. I can’t say she loves me, but she is really bonded to me.”
- Agee has become very territorial with Dumas. While she can become jealous when anyone takes Dumas’ attention away from her, Agee has accepted his wife, Dawn, because she’s known her since she was little.
- Dumas is still Agee’s primary caregiver and they’re very happy together. “Agee sees him as her mother and father together, really. And companion,” Dawn said, adding that her husband has never felt in danger around the bear.
- Agee would never survive in the wild, so she’s very lucky to have a loving owner. Dumas ensures she’s safe and looked after. And while it’s better for wild animals to be in the wild as they should be, since Agee wouldn’t be able to do that, living with Dumas is the next best thing.