If you head about 30 kilometres south from Kuusamo, in the north of Finland, you may end up at an old farm on the shore of a lake. Recently, and over a short period of time, this spot has become quite a talking point and most Finns would recognise the name of its owner. Sulo Karjalainen has featured in numerous newspaper articles and he has even had his own TV documentary, as people have become fascinated by Sulo – because his relationship with Finland’s predators is something out of the ordinary.
– People know me because of the animals. That makes me happy. When you’ve lived in the forest since childhood, you’re naturally close to animals. I remember when I was a little boy I used to spend days in the sheep pen while my mother was milking the cows. I wasn’t even ten before I first saw a bear in the wild.
Since the 1970s Valentin Pazhetnov runs experimental studies of the behavior of the brown bear from birth to independence. In the 1990s they were formed into a unique method of rearing orphaned bears with the possibility of returning to the wild. During the work of the Center 229 bears were rehabilitated by the method of Pazhetnov and released back into the forest. These recommendations have been successfully applied both for the rehabilitation of brown bear cubs and other bear species, helping to preserve the population in Russia, Korea and India.
Jim Kovalchyk, a retired correspondent, and his wife Susan have been working with bears for decades. They founded Orphaned wildlife center in Otisville, New York, where 11 bears and a few small animals are currently in the area. While the Kovalchik family hopes to rehabilitate small animals, the bears will either stay there or be transferred to other parks.