Finland’s vast forests are home to an estimated 1,500 brown bears. Though they may roam anywhere in mainland Finland, they are usually very hard to spot due to their shy nature. Kuusamo is one of the best places for bear watching in Europe.
Bears are formidable animals. Big males can weigh up to 300 kilos, and hunt large animals like deer, reindeer, and elk. However they can get much of their diet from vegetable elements like berries, grasses, flowers and mushrooms.
These omnivorous giants tend to be solitary animals, except for females and their cubs, but at times they do congregate.
Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable hillside. Females, or she-bears, den while pregnant and give birth during this winter rest, usually to a pair of cubs. Brown bear cubs nurse on their mother’s milk until spring and stay with her for some two and a half years—so females only reproduce once every three years.
The average life span in the wild is 25 years. Bears are still hunted in Finland. The bear hunting season is 20.8 – 31 October and yearly about 100 bears hare shot by hunting licences
In Kuusamo the bear watching dens are close to the Russian border and no guns are allowed – Therefore also no hunting.
Follow the link for a chance to join a bear adventure trip to Finland with Stephen Mills.