Hungry bears in berry-less woods

This summer was exceptionally cold. As a result, there are practically no berries in the woods. That leads to a lot of hungry bears roaming the forests and occasionally exploring garbage dumpsters in a desperate attempt to put on some fat before the winter sets in. Lots of bear excrements in the woods between Malinovoye, where our dacha is, and Luvenga. The locals who are in the habit of taking early morning walks say there are four of them in the five-kilometer long and narrow strip of trees between the seacoast and the road. As of recent, they have been containing a lot of rowanberries, which is not at all typical bear food.

A pile of bear crap with undigested rowanberries for your aesthetic enjoyment

A story from Chernaya Rechka (“Black River”) in Karelia reached me yesterday. A black bear occupied a cranberry field and refused to leave even when the local women shouted at it – not a typical behaviour for this beast. Now these women are said to go cranberry picking accompanied by men with shotguns.

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The village of Black River on the White Sea

The village of Black River in North Karelia is as isolated place as I’ve ever seen, with absolutely no car access. To get there you need to arrange to be met with a boat at the Polyarny Krug camp in Nilma. The permanent (wintering) population is 7-10 persons, and it gets up to a hundred in the summer. Locals don’t generally like tourists but if you have a valid reason to visit this community populated mostly by Moscow biologists they may welcome you. Below are a few of many photos taken during our recent 4-day stay in Black River.

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Just loaded onto a boat at the Polarny Krug camp at Nilma

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Off to Karelia for four days tomorrow morning

The destination is the village of Chernaya Rechka (“Black River”) near Nilma. The village is famous for its remoteness, with no roads leading to it, and for the fact that most houses there are owned by biology professors from St. Petersburg and Moscow, one of whom we’ll be visiting.

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