After a quarter of a century of study, Kilham has no doubt that bears are as close to humans as great apes.
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With their mothers perhaps shot dead or knocked down by a car, the 1.93-meter-tall Kilham makes sure they grow up safe and well, before releasing them back into the wild aged 18 months.In addition he observes adult bears in the wild, including Squirty, who is now 22 years old and has had 11 litters.After a quarter of a century of study, Kilham has no doubt that bears are as close to humans as great apes, even if as he says, apes "were our closest genetic relative".He quickly realized that female bears were capable, like humans, of "reciprocal altruism" – or in other words looking after each other for the greater good.If language has allowed humans to develop to such an extent, Kilham also believes it has corrupted their behavior.Twenty-five years later, Kilham has released 165 bears back into the wild and documented more than 1,500 bear interactions in nature.Around 10-15 percent of New Hampshire's 5,000 to 6,000 bears are killed every year in hunting season.
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