They may be among the world’s most fearsome predators – but even a polar bear needs a hug every now and then.
These two cuddly-looking creatures were caught sharing an intimate embrace in the snowy wilds of Manitoba in Canada by Russian photographer Alexey Tishchenko, 42.
The powerful creatures then enjoyed a little rough and tumble as they play fought together – seemingly oblivious to Mr Tishchenko’s presence.
Huggy bears: Two polar bears show their softer side with an affectionate cuddle. The touching moment was caught on camera by Russian photographer, Alexey Tishchenko
Having a laugh: The pair appear to square up for a fight – but the confrontation is purely playful
According to estimates, the polar bear population of the western Hudson Bay area is nearly 1,000, with the majority living most of the year, from mid-November to mid-July, on the ice of Hudson Bay.
Pregnant females are an exception to this, spending from mid-November through to March in maternity dens on land, and then moving to the sea ice with their cubs, according to the Government of Manitoba.
Polar bears are generally rarer in the extreme north of the Arctic Circle although the animal is believed to roam right across the region.
Polar bears are found in the Arctic Circle and on neighbouring land masses as far south as Newfoundland Island in Canada. Some sightings have even been reported in the far north of Norway.
Paws for thought: The bears were then photographed enjoying a little rough and tumble in the powdery snow
They tend to favour hunting on sea ice and in the sea in search of prey such as seals. Polar bears often frequent areas where sea ice meets water – primarily around the edges of the ice pack, where more seals can be found.
The global polar bear population is believed to be between 20,000 and 25,000 with 19 recognized sub-populations.
The polar bear is the largest terrestrial carnivore, with adult males weighing between 350 and 680 kg (770–1500 lbs) and measuring between 7.9 and 9.8 ft in length.