These bizarre – and quite terrifying – pictures taken in a forest outside Moscow show two Russian models stripping off for the ultimate bear hug.
Their co-star? A 650kg, 2.2 metre tall 18-year-old brown bear called Stephen.
Models Maria Sidorova and Lidia Fetisova were pictured hugging, cuddling and kissing the bear by photographer Olga Barantseva, as part of a dream-like series of snaps meant to show the natural harmony between humans and bears.
And if you think the bear’s not real, check out the video:
The pictures were part of an anti-hunting campaign, although in one image, one of the models is seen wearing what appears to be a fur coat as she hugs the bear. It’s unclear whether the fur is real or ‘faux’.
Stephen the bear was rescued by his owner Yuriy Panteleenko, who found him close to death after being hunted.
Yuriy cared for him after discovering he’d been separated from his mother. But, after being hand-reared, he wasn’t able to integrate back into the wild.
So, now he appears in films in Russia, as well as photo shoots.
Mr Panteleenko used Stephen’s favourite treats, mozzarella and cookies, to get him to pose for the jaw-dropping photographs.
Model Maria said of the shoot: ‘the reality even exceeded my dreams of what it would be like to interact with such a big animal. I could hug a real bear, speak to him and hide under his giant paw.’
Lidia added: ‘During the shoot the bear was almost free to do what he wanted – but he did not harm me.
‘To be hugged by him and let him lick my face and hands was a very special experience.’
Not so much grin and bear it, then, but bear hugs all round.