New Mexico is hiring 'professional bear huggers,' a job that requires a college degree and a year of training
- The state of New Mexico is hiring "professional bear huggers," or conservation officers.
- It's a role that requires a college degree and almost a year of training and tests.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has issued a hiring call for "professional bear huggers," but it'll take far more than just a love for cuddling cubs to bag the role.
Snuggling with bears is one of the perks a conservation officer from the department can enjoy — if they have the right qualifications and pass the training program.
"Must have ability to hike in strenuous conditions, have the courage to crawl into a bear den, and have the trust in your coworkers to keep you safe during the process," the department said in its job listing on Facebook.
"P.S. we do not recommend crawling into bear dens," it added.
Any "bear hugger" hopefuls have until March 30 to apply, but they'll need at least a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, forestry, ecology, or other related fields, the department said on the conservation officer's job description.
They'll also have to pass a physical training test, a written exam, medical and psychological examinations, and of course — the job interview.
If they're selected, they'll be slated to undergo nearly a year of training for firearms, boat operations, hunter education, patrol skills, and wildlife handling.
The onboarding scheme includes police training at the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, and 14 weeks of field training under another officer.
The description estimates that new recruits will be promoted to officers on April 13, 2024, presumably when one may start hugging bears.
"Not all law enforcement field work is this glamorous, but we would love for you to join the team where you can have the experience of a lifetime," the New Mexico wildlife agency said.
The conservation officer's responsibilities include enforcing game and fish laws, educating the public about wildlife, conducting wildlife surveys, helping to draft new wildlife regulations, and capturing problematic animals, the department said.
They're also "professional deer protectors," it added in another Facebook post.
"Bambi doesn't have a thing on the real-life version. Which means as spring gets near, our Conservation Officers must respond to many baby deer reports," the post read.
The department also announced on Tuesday evening that it is looking for a person to be its bear mascot and "hand out bear hugs."
A spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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