I struggled giving this post a title. “Bear Hair”..”If you go down to the woods today on the Finnish/Russian border”..”Super sized Furry Animals”!?..is there really a rule that you have to give a post a title? I’m only writing to fill in the gaps between the photos anyway, I don’t know if anyone actually reads it.
So there we were driving along gravel tracks through a Finnish forest, the written directions that we were following went something like – turn left, take third right, second left, first right etc, etc..and the tracks all looked the same.
After a while of driving along tracks through the forest we managed to cross paths with the only other person in the forest, who kindly told us that we were going in the wrong direction and which way we should be going.
If for some unforgivable reason you hadn’t guessed, we were here to look for Eurasian Brown Bears(Ursus arctos). These bears are pretty big, they’re quite strong, they have big teeth, , but they do look very cuddly..yeah, probably not a good idea!
The plan was to meet up with our guide who would lead us on a 3k walk through the forest to a wooden hide. Our guide was a big lad who sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had every faith that if we were attacked by a bear then this guy would take plenty
of time for the bear to eat, allowing the rest of us to make a run for it.
We stayed in the hide all evening and through the night. We watched as the bears ate, dozed and played. It was an incredible and captivating experience.
The bears all looked different and were easy to tell apart, not only that , they seemed to have different personalities and mannerisms too.
The interactions and the apparent hierarchy played out like a bear soap opera before our eyes, it’s an episode that I will never forget.
Dr Ian Burfield