Wesley Larson is a graduate student in animal conservation who works with adult bears and some unbearably cute cubs in Bryce Canyon National Park. A Montana native, Larson grew up obsessed with animals and the great outdoors, and now spends his days hiking through Bryce Canyon tracking the GPS collars on bears, and even climbing into bear dens to administer medicine.

In the Great Big Story video above, Larson explains the joys and dangers of working with bears. He describes climbing trees and confronting bears that aren’t especially happy their space is being invaded. Ultimately, he says, the job may be dangerous, but it’s well worth the risk. “Getting out into the wilderness and having these kind of experiences helps you understand that we depend on wildlife and wildlife depends on us,” he explains. “That’s really what conservation is all about: Giving the space and the respect to these animals that they deserve and really learning as much about them as we can.”

Banner Image Credit: Great Big Story, YouTube