Wolves, bears and wolverines the same night, in Kuhmo, Kainuu, Finland –
As if these many dozens of bear meetings were not enough, it would just get better. I continued in Finland, a bit south along the border to Russia to Lassi Rautiainens (www.articmedia.fi) impressive system of professional photo hides, outside the town of Kuhmo. Rautiainen, a reknowned photographer himself, Nature Photographer of the Year in Finland 2007 and also a member of the Wild Wonders of Europe team of photographers, here runs the only place in the whole world where you stand a very good chance of seeing both bears, wolves and wolverines during the same night, and often even at quite close range as well. 12 different hides in forest, in bogs, beside lakes and ponds, offer amazing close encounters with the large carnivores.
A real privilege to have seven bears walking around your hide, bear safe of course, built in thin plywood and cotton cloth…
And two wolves chasing one of the bears off and on. Then a wolverine tries to sneak by and grab a bite, gets seen by the wolves, who are suddenly four of them, and they chase the wolverine high up a nearby tree, where he then has to spend the following hours, while the wolves are keeping watch under the tree.
A true wilderness drama in a pristine wilderness area, made available by Lassi Rautiainen. All 12 hides with 2-3 photographers in each during the nights, and then when the day comes, we all leave the hides by foot, walk among the bear, wolf and wolverine tracks, yes we even saw a lynx track one morning!, back to the comfortable lodge, for some sleep, sauna, great finnish country food and many chats about who saw what and where during the past night. And the making of new plans for who goes to which hide for next night.
Also amazing is the complete lack of guns or weapons of any kind. And the profound mutual respect between the intelligent carnivores and the reasonably intelligent people. They accept to show up in front of the hides, in spite of them knowing thatthe hides are full of camera-clicking people, which they are really deeply afraid of. But only because they are given healthy food and respected, not shouted at or being fired at or scared off. And they keep a certain distance of at least a couple of metres to the hides. And at 7 o’clock, when the humans are to leave the place, the carnivores have all gone back to their day hangouts, since neither party really wants to mix, meeting each otheron foot in the forest.
A truly fascinating system of mutual respect.
And an amazing act from Rautiainen to make available a world-unique wildlife encounter possibility, to anyone who likes to try it.
Some of the true Wild Wonders of Europe!
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.