The Finns are said to be the happiest people in the world, and I believe they owe much of this happiness to the incredible wildlife that enriches their country!
Visitors can visit spectacular locations and spot bears, wolves, elk, bears, and wolverines. The country’s wilderness is one of the best brown bear spotting destinations in Europe.
There is a Finnish term, “Everyman’s right” (Jokamiehen Oikeus), which means that everyone can freely walk in nature, anywhere they want.
For the past six years, PE teacher Valtteri Mulkahainen from Sotkamo, Finland, has been shooting wildlife and has been lucky to capture some pretty unique moments.
Back in 2013, he went to explore the Finnish taiga around the town of Martinselkonen. Yet, little did he know that he was about to witness something adorable: a bear with a few small cubs.
“The cubs behaved like little children. They were playing and even started a few friendly fights. I felt like I was on a playground in front of my house, where small children frolic around. That’s how much they reminded me of little children. At one point, the three of them got up on their hind legs and started pushing each other. It was like they were dancing in a circle.”
From a shelter 50 meters (164 feet) away from them, he could watch the adorable animals “all evening and all night.”
They are super cute!
Bears live almost everywhere in Finland, with most of them concentrated in the eastern part of the country and Lapland. According to the Finnish Natural Resources Institute, before the 2019 hunting season, there were between 2020 and 2130 bears.
Yet, they usually silently retreat immediately after being spotted, so they are a rare sight.
Since they freely roam the country, Finland organizes the best bear watching safaris in Europe. Animal lovers can also take bear watching and photography trips in the central and eastern forests of Lakeland in the period from April to September.
Bears are strong and agile and have remarkable climbing and swimming abilities.
For all those that are afraid of the thought to have an encounter with the bear, we have a few tips. First of all, leave the area if you see it from a distance.
If it is closer, and the bear sees you, start speaking in a low and calm voice, retreat, and avoid direct eye contact. In this way, you send a message that you are human, and you can defend yourself, but you decide to leave the territory and are not-threatening.
In case a bear approaches you, remain calm and not frightened (if possible), and try to look as large as possible.