Never feed bears. We hear it all the time, especially if we're heading to the mountains. But don't tell that to Jim Kowalczik who runs the Orphaned Wildlife Center with his wife Susan. He feeds his pet bears all the time. He even fed them cake on their birthday.

Every January Jim and Susan celebrate a birthday for the bears with cake. He even feeds them from his mouth.

Jim and Susan have been taking care of wildlife and bears for a very long time. They own and live on the property at The Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York, where they have 11 bears of varying species. "These animals, especially the bears, are not a job, they are truly like our children and are treated and cared for as such."

The goal at the Wildlife Center is to provide safety and nurturing to animals that are truly orphaned and prepare them to return to a life in the wild. "Through our efforts, we hope to encourage people to respect and enjoy our native wildlife."

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The Wildlife Center is not open to the public. "Our animals need as little human contact as possible to make a successful and safe transition back to the wild."

A very small number of tours are offered each year. "In return for this unique, one on one, and rare experience, we request a donation that can significantly make an impact on our organization's ability to help animals."

A $1000 donation, for up to six people, is requested for a private tour. Tours are held on Saturday's or Sunday's from May through October but Jim and Susan say early fall is the best time to visit.

During the tours you may not go in with the bears. Only Jim and Susan interact with the bears. But you will be able to get up right next to their enclosure. "Depending on what other animals we have on the property during your visit, you might be able to interact with those animals too."

Learn more and request a private tour at

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