Dushanbe celebrities, Talabsho Sheikhov and his bear Maria wander Tajikistan's capital earning money by charging for photos. Sheikhov, 80, says he found Mariya, an orphan, 17 years ago in the Pamir Mountains and raised her with a bottle, sometimes offering her human milk. Today she eats Snickers and shashlik (grilled meat) and, while sometimes a little frightened by the crowds of onlookers, appears to have a special relationship with Sheikhov.
David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.
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