Young black bears get to grips with the fighting skills they will need for real when they grow up.
The pair were caught on a wildlife camera playfighting in woodlands at the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve in Primorsky Krai, eastern Russia.
The black bears are seen first sniffing out a tree, often used as a territory maker.
As they size each other up, they quickly get onto their hind legs swinging their massive paws at each other.
But as they bite and grapple they seem careful not to hurt each other with their powerful jaws and razor-sharp claws.
Despite the apparent fun, the skills they’re learning will be used to deadly effect when they are competing for territory or breeding rights.
In a statement obtained by Newsflash, the reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage site – said: “At this stage what they are doing is fun and helps to pass the time.
“It also plays a vital role in helping them to develop the skills they need to survive in the wild.
“In doing this, young bears are sharpening the skills that they will need for hunting, fighting and breeding.
“As a result, they can be seen standing on their hind legs and practising moves to get the edge over their rival.
“But it’s all done without any aggression, and probably silently to avoid any nearby adults turning up and getting involved.”
They explained that it also helps bears – often solitary – to be more sociable with other animals and to bond.
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