Bob Steele has been working with bears since 1958.
"Their personalities are very much like people," said Steele.
And his gang of five North American Black Bears, Andy, Cindi, Jacki, Bucky and Brock, travel to fairs and sports shows to teach people and to show some of their talents. "We show some of their skills, stuff they would naturally do out in the wild but, we do it with props," said Steele.
Steele set up at the Central States Fair to give people important tips on how to handle bears in the wild. "The surest way not to get attacked by a bear in the middle of the night while you're camping is to rub bacon grease on your fellow campers when you go to sleep," Steele laughed.
Jokes aside, Steele says if you're camping, you need to hang food high at the campsite and change your clothes after barbecuing. Plus there's this crucial tip. "Never approach cubs because the mama is right around the corner and she can cover 100 yards by the time you cover 10 feet," said Steele.
Steele has a unique relationship with his furry friends, but that doesn't change the fact the they are wild animals. "I can pet all of them, but you got to understand they're still wild animals and you got to understand them for what they are and you got to respect them for what
they are, because anything can set them off," said Steele.
And bears are serious eaters, grazing on grass when they're not eating a diet similar to people. "They eat fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, fish - pretty much everything we
eat, just uncooked," said Steele.