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Couple who lived with bear for 25 years tell their story

THE extraordinary story of a Scots couple who reared and lived with a grizzly bear for 25 years has been made into a TV documentary.

GRIZZLY: Maggie and Andy Robin, with Hercules the bear.
GRIZZLY: Maggie and Andy Robin, with Hercules the bear.

The programme will next month tell how Andy and Maggie Robin, from Dunblane, bought Hercules as a cub from a Scottish zoo for £50 in 1976.

The couple initially bought the bear as a wrestling partner for Mr Robin, a world champion wrestler, who had become fixated on the idea after wrestling with a black bear in Canada.

However, Hercules - nicknamed "the Human Bear" - went on to be an international superstar and a much-loved part of the family, living with the couple in their home at Sheriffmuir Inn for decades.

With no formal animal training in how to work with grizzlies, the Robins risked their lives by allowing the 9ft, 70-stone bear to share every inch of their lives, from the house they owned to the food they ate.

Hercules the Human Bear,' to be shown on Channel 5 on April 1, focuses on the unique relationship between the three, with newly-discovered archive footage charting the bear's life with the couple, wrestling bouts and the moment he went missing in the Outer Hebrides where the hunt for the bear made national and international headlines. Hercules became a celebrity starring in adverts for products such as Kleenex and Hofmeister Beer, appearing in the James Bond film Octopussy, and gracing the front cover of Time magazine. The film also features footage of Hercules caddying for Bob Hope at a golf tournament.

Mrs Robin said: "For 25 years I lived with a bear. That teddy bear we all had as a child became my everyday reality. As a farmer's daughter and show jumper I never imagined that I would one day marry a champion wrestler Andy Robin and be mother to my very own real live bear. His name was Hercules...he was handsome and gentle and made me laugh. He never let me down, not once. With him I shared a charmed life full of adventure love and laughter that to still to this day makes me smile."

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