Velga Vitola, who is a caretaker at the national park in eastern Europe, is well known for her kind heart towards the animals.
she has raised two bears in her home, and actually had two cubs sleep alongside her in bed.The first bear died but the second, Ilzite, who is now 10, still lives in her backyard though in a caged area. Though Ilzite is too large to cuddle anymore, the two still get affectionate through the cage.
'It's a kiss for mom,' Velga explains in a 2012 documentary, as Ilzite licks Velga's face and opens her mouth wide, though not to take a bite out of the animal lover
'This is our chat, she tells me about her day,' she says, explaining how she builds a relationship of trust with the animals in her care.
Though Velga has been plagued with health problems she chooses to remain close to the animals she loves in the park because of the authenticity of the relationship.
'People have masks. We go to work, to the theater, we drive our cars, and we have masks on. We are not ourselves,' she said.
'But when an animal looks at you, he is himself. Without a mask. That's a thing we could learn from them.'