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Man Stumbles Upon Baby Bears ‘Dancing’ in Forest, Thinks He’s Imagining Things

“The cubs behaved like little children.”



dancing bears

(TMU) — Valtteri Mulkahainen, a teacher and keen photographer from Sotkamo, Finland, likes spending his free time taking photographs and has been exploring and capturing the beauty of Finland’s countryside and wildlife.

In June 2013, while exploring the Finnish taiga near the town of Martinselkonen, Valtteri was in a shelter about 50m (164ft) away from a clearing in the forest when he noticed a bear and three small cubs coming into the clearing, a moment that turned into an unique and magical experience for the photographer.

“The cubs behaved like little children,” he said.

“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 Valtteri’s sheltered vantage point the bears were unaware of his presence and he had a perfect view of the cubs’ playful antics and said: “I photographed the cubs with the bear all evening and all night.”

Valtteri was indeed fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Bears have a great sense of awareness and smell and on detecting human activity would immediately retreat to avoid human contact.

Finland is among Europe’s top three habitats for brown bears, together with Romania and Sweden, and are found just about everywhere in Finland, except for the Åland Islands. Although the majority live in the eastern part of the country and Lapland they are regularly seen in the southern and western areas as well.

According a report in Reuters, in spite of the brown bear being protected by the European Union’s Habitats Directive, Finland allowed increased hunting last year. The agriculture and forestry ministry allowed a higher than average hunting quota, to 355 bears last year, to stabilize population growth and prevent long-term damage to the reindeer population. The quota for this year has been lowered to 313.

Hunting areas where specified so that more bears are hunted in reindeer herding territories to protect indigenous herders such as the Samis. Juvenile bears are excluded from the quotas and may not be hunted.

The bear population in Finland is currently estimated to be between 2,020 and 2,130, compared to 2018’s estimate of approximately 2,130 and 2,260 bears.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons |

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