Bear cubs sit in the forest

Want to Hug Bears? Head to New Mexico

People love to see bears, which often leads to wanting to pet them. While the National Park Service usually warns against approaching, petting, or even hugging these large mammals, the state of New Mexico is looking for some bear-hugging professionals. According to its job listing, applicants must "have the ability to hike in strenuous conditions" and "the courage to crawl into a bear den."

Of course, the official title with the Department of Game and Fish is "conservation officer." The state is opening up a new training class. In the post on its Facebook page, the department wrote, "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."

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While the pictures in the post show officers cuddling adorable bear cubs, it's not typical for officers to hold the animals. The post reads, "P.S. we do not recommend crawling into bear dens. This was part of a research project in Northern New Mexico, and all bears were handled safely under supervision. If you do, our officers will have to have a chat with you." It also pointed out that you should not feed the bears either.

While the prospect of cuddling bears may entice people to apply for the position, they will need a lot more than a love for animals to be successful candidates. The job listing states that eligible candidates should hold a bachelor's degree in "biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, natural resources conservation, ecology, or related fields." A conservation officer is in charge of "enforcing fish and game laws" and also "educates the public about wildlife and wildlife management, conducts wildlife surveys, captures 'problem animals,' investigates wildlife damage to crops and property, assists in wildlife relocations and helps to develop new regulations."

Those interested in applying can fill out the application on the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's website. The application deadline is March 30, and interviews will occur on April 30.