By Mikey Jones
This is the ultimate BEAR HUG – as two young brown bears get up close and personal in ‘training’.
The cubs grab each other in an aggressive man hug around the neck while bearing their teeth – but this one looks like he’s maybe hugging his playmate a little TOO tightly!
When their embrace is over, the snow covered bears pull apart before one gives the other a firm pat on the head in the Kronotsky Reserve in Kamchatka, Russia.
The pictures were taken by professional photographer Sergey Ivanov from Kirov, Russia.
Sergey, 54, said: “The two young bears are wrestling. It’s both fighting and playing. They are training to be in the wild.
“It can be pretty fierce and cruel, but they very rarely harm each other badly.
“The conflict started very suddenly and lasted about 20 minutes. Then they calmed down again and it was over as soon as it started.
“It’s actually quite rare to catch this behaviour in the snow, especially for brown bear. They are usually in hibernation by now, but Kamchatka has plenty of food for them even in the early part of winter, so the bears here hibernate later.
“Bears are without doubt my favourite animal, and I visit Kamchatka every year to photograph the brown bears.
“It’s always fantastic when I managed to capture moments like this, and when I return home I miss it.”