Watching Brown Bears In Finland
WATCHING BROWN BEARS IN FINLAND
Europe's largest apex predators and untouched wilderness; it’s no surprise that Finland is one of the most desired locations for wildlife enthusiasts. Heading deep into an untouched forest, with crystalline lakes and swampland, you can find some of the finest predator observation hides in Europe. Throughout this untouched country, there are an estimated 1,500 Brown Bears. Though mostly secretive and seldom seen by those on foot, from dedicated hides people are able to immerse themselves into the hidden lives of bears. A wild area of land stretching the length of Finland's eastern border provides some of the best opportunities of anywhere in the world to view Brown Bears. Though Bears are the real stars of the show, other animals can also make frequent visits to these remote locations providing a predator feast for the eyes.
There are a number of reasons that make Finland one of the best locations on earth to experience and photograph the Brown bear - Here are a few of them:
Forest covers roughly 75% of Finland’s total land area. Named the land of a thousand lakes (168,000 to be precise), this country is a lot less urbanised than most others in Europe. Not only are the lakes and forests of Finland pretty, they also support some of Europe’s greatest predators. Located in the wildest, most remote parts of this largely untouched country are some of the best bear observation hides in the world. Untouched expanses of land generate a stable ecosystem, allowing miniature plants and tiny rodents to support the likes of the Wolf, Lynx and Brown Bear.
2. Observation Hides
There are a number of areas in Finland that allow wildlife watchers to experience and photograph wild Bears up close, all thanks to purpose-built hides. Well established observation hides allow close up encounters with Brown Bears. In some locations such as the Wild Brown Bear Centre (Kuhmo), Bears, Wolverine and Wolves can all be seen in the same place. Most hides are set in remote surroundings including swamps, lake edges and forests, allowing great opportunities to catch a glimpse of the elusive animals that occur.
3. Defined Seasons
Bear watching in Finland allows nature lovers to experience a vast range of seasonal differences, depending on the time of year. In more extreme climates and locations, certain seasons are less well defined and weather doesn’t vary. During the period in which bears are active in Finland, weather conditions and temperature may vary dramatically. For example, in April bears can be seen wading through snow during a blizzard in -20 degrees. By June, the temperature can rise up to 25 degrees Celsius, when swamps are laden with beautiful cotton grass and daylight is almost endless. The well defined seasons offer an excellent range of experiences, in terms of the environment and bear activity.
4. It's not Just Bears...
A healthy population of over 1500 Brown Bears suggests Finland’s Boreal ecosystem successfully supports both this apex species as well as a wealth of other species. When observing bears, associated Boreal species can also be expected. Elusive Wolverine coincides in areas where food is plentiful, and in rarer cases, Wolves and Lynx can be sighted. The lakes of Finland are home to Red and Black-throated divers, as well as lots of waterfowl including Finland’s national bird the Whooper Swan. Foxes, Red Squirrels, and corvids such as Raven and Hooded Crow scavenge leftovers in Bear feeding areas, leaving wildlife enthusiasts with a wealth of potential sightings.
5. It's Beautiful!
Waiting for an elusive animal to show itself can take hours, meaning lots of time spent waiting out in the wilderness. Luckily, like many of the Nordic countries, Finland offers some of the most beautiful views Europe has to offer. As night falls during the Autumn, those spending the night in a hide may be rewarded with the mesmerising light show of the Aurora Borealis. Magical mists envelop the swamps at sunset, giving an ethereal ghostly aura, whilst calm mornings produce mirror calm reflections on the crystalline lakes.
From nature enthusiasts to wildlife photographers, it’s easy to see why Finland is so hard to beat. Have a question about watching bears in Finland?
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