Un-bear-lievable! The mother who brought home wild bear and raised it as part of the family


New addition: Velga brought Ilzite home with her after discovering the abandoned bear in dense woodland near her home in Latvia

Goldilocks has nothing on this wood-dwelling mother who raised an orphaned wild bear alongside her children.
Velga Vitola made a home for the abandoned bear cub - named Ilzite - in her shack in dense Latvian woodland, where it played with her children, joined in on family walks, and even slept in the 55-year-old's bed.
The passionate animal lover said her family regard the wild bear as a sibling, adding: 'I raised three children - a son, a daughter, and a bear.'

Along for the ride: Ilzite the bear peers out of the window of Velga Vitola's car as it joins her for a spin

Ms Vitola stumbled across Ilzite along with another abandoned bear cub in the dense forest surrounding her home in Latvia's Ligatne National Park, and immediately whisked them back to her shack to raise them herself.
'Both my bears grew up in the house. They woke my kids up for school every morning,' she said.
One of the cubs later died, but Ilzite thrived with the Vitola family, developing a strong bond with Velga in particular.

Right at home: The wild bear kicks back on the sofa

'She loves to give me, her mum, a kiss - any other human would lose their head if they tried it.
'We just love each other,' she added.
Ms Vitola suspects her beloved Ilzite has grown up believing it is a human being rather than a bear.
'Once she saw her reflection in the window. It sounded like thunder, she was growling so loudly because she thought she looked like me - her mum,' she said.

Loving home: The growing bear is seen eating bread from a bucket, left, and playing with a toy on the sofa, right

Ilzite is not the only unusual pet Ms Vitola - dubbed 'the mother of all animals' - has made a home for. Her menagerie of wild creatures has included everything from hedgehogs to an elk named Freddie during her 22 years of living in the woods.
'Once I woke up because a pair of wild geese were in my bedroom,' she said.
And the kind-hearted 55-year-old brushes off suggestions her living situation is anything other than ideal.

Playful: A young Ilzite is seen investigating a watering can at its home in Latvia

'When I considered moving here my mum said: "Are you crazy?"'
'She said: "What will you die out there?", but I told her I didn't care.
'This is the place of my happiest moments. All of those moments are about animals.
'I feel like this is my place in the world,' she added.

Newborn: Ilzite was a tiny newborn cub when it was first discovered by Ms Vitola in the forest

Ilzite the bear is now ten-years-old and has grown so big it lives outside the home, but still regularly accompanies its 'mother' on her walks through the forest.
'Once we both went for a walk along the wild boars enclosure, she was only one year old at the time and was afraid of them,' Ms Vitola said.
'She clung to my legs and started to growl at them.

Pampered pet: Ilzite slept in a cot complete with cuddly toys at Ms Vitola's home in Latvia

'She felt safe because her mum was there. I told her: "You crazy bear, I will be the first to run."'
'I need those moments, the bear kisses and hugs to feel happy and free.
'People can be two faced, but when an animal looks at you he is only himself.
'We can learn a lot from them.'

Flat-out: Ms Vitola originally brought home two bear cubs, but one sadly died

Growing up: Velga's pet cat has some competition for its snack from growing bear Ilzite

Menagerie: Ms Vitola has cared for dozens of animals during her years in the woods, including hedgehogs, elks and, of course, Ilzite the bear

source: dailymail