An adorable bear cub catches a wave on a surfboard in a swimming pool with his owner Carl Bovard, the 43-year-old owner of Single Vision, a non-profit, wild animal educational facility he opened nine years ago.
Carl plays with, wrestles, and cares for six tigers, two lions, two bear cubs, two mountain lions, two bobcats and two alligators at the facility, located in the backyard of his home in Melrose, Florida.
The 10-month-old Syrian brown bear cub, named Bruiser, enjoys cooling off from the Florida sun inside a pool in the enclosure. ‘The bears used to go in and out of the little pools in their enclosure, and at about 3 months they climbed the ladder of the big pool and basically hopped right in,’ says Carl. ‘They love being in and playing around in the water. Honey, my Florida black bear, likes the water too but she doesn’t take to it quite like Bruiser.’
Carl keeps all his animals in his home when they are younger – Bruiser and Honey moved to an enclosure when they were 4 months old.
‘It’s important they stay in the house with me because that’s how they socialise and bond with me,’ explains Carl. ‘Keeping them in the house is challenging – they’re wild so they’re destructive. Once they grow from that baby size and they’re up and moving around, your furniture can pay a price.
‘The bears are the youngest animals here – and since they are the youngest they are our main priority. After they are fed, I take them out and let them run around with the dogs, take them on walks around in the woods, and let them play in the pool.’
Carl brought the bears to Single Vision when they were 8 weeks old. ‘I really enjoy playing with them every day,’ he says, ‘and they have big personalities – they’re different but they’re a lot of fun.’