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“A Russian photographer has captured a fascinating series of photos showing polar bears that have taken over the abandoned buildings of a meteorological station on an island between Russia and Alaska.

“In September 2021, photographer Dmitry Kokh traveled through islands in the Chukchi Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean that sits between Russia and Alaska.

“‘Being the farthest and most Eastern part of Russian Arctic, this place is very hard to get but also difficult to forget,’ Kokh writes. ‘We traveled by the sailing yacht along the coast and covered more than 1,200 miles of untouched landscapes, villages lost in time, spots with various fauna and seas full of life.’

“Once-in-a-Lifetime Photos of Polar Bears

“Kokh was on a personal mission to photograph polar bears, and his expedition originally focused on Wrangel Island, which is world-famous for being a place to encounter the bears. In 2021, however, possibly due to the very cold summer, the island was devoid of its typical polar bear population.

“‘But nature always sending you something when you least expect it — when we passed through the Kolyuchin Island near the Northern coast of Chukotka, we saw some movements in the windows of the abandoned windows there,’ Kokh says. ‘And when we got close — those were bears!’

“The photographer says that polar bears have never been observed in the abandoned buildings of the weather station on the island, which was built in the 1930s and abandoned in the early 1990s. He calls the encounter a ‘once-in-a-lifetime situation’ that he was able to capture with ‘technology and a little bit of magic,’ according to DIYPhotography.

“Kokh managed to capture close-up photographs of the polar bears roaming inside and outside the run-down structures. Some of the bears would casually look out the windows at the photographer when they noticed him around.

“Kolyuchin Island: A Now-Abandoned Polar Bear Playground

“Kolyuchin Island is found just 6.8 miles (11km) north of Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula, and the tiny tundra-covered island measures 2.8 miles (4.5km) in length with a maximum width of just 0.93 miles (1.5km).

“‘[A]bout nine months a year the sea around the island is covered with ice,’ Russia Beyond writes. ‘There are no residential settlements on Kolyuchin Island (although archeologists established that these places were inhabited 1,500 years ago).

‘In 1934, Soviet scientists built a polar station of the Northern Sea Route here. It functioned until 1992, when it was closed. The island was then abandoned.’”

“One of Kokh’s photos from his series, which shows a polar bear leaning out of a broken window, won the prize for ‘Best Image of Wildlife in an Anthropogenic Environment’ in a 2021 Russian photography contest organized by National Geographic.

“It seems the polar bears on the island are now happy to have the land and abandoned settlements entirely to themselves.”

You can find more of the photographer’s work on his website and Instagram.

Courtesy of PetaPixel
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Evidently, this place is an abandoned Arctic weather station.


It really does!


Seriously looks like you should be able to go up to him scratch him on his head and say "Good Boy" Thanks Bill. Love these.


You're welcome, stunned. Where did you see a man with hyenas?

OMG..the man with the hyenas was too much. How heartwarming the video was, thanks so much.


You're most welcome!


How nice of you Bill, to find these for us to enjoy, thank you so much! :-)


Speaking of polar bears...


Haha, it probably wasn't always shabby. Or maybe it was. You're welcome, stunned.

At least they have a place to hang out, but it was a very shabby place. Great post.


My pleasure, Wendy!

What a wonderful set of photos! Thanks for finding there, Bill.


I say good for them, Claire!


Haha, Janet! 🍪☕


You're most welcome, luly! That's a very engaging bear!


You're welcome, klchapz25. And you're right, people should not leave rubbish like that lying around, but considering how remote Kolyuchin Island is, there is probably nowhere to move it to except somewhere far away by boat, and I'm sure nobody would be willing to pay for that. Sad, isn't it?

Beautiful pictures. It is nice to see animals making use of empty buildings to their advantage.


Yes Bill...with his paw out patting the ground,
"come on over here little human, have a sit down and
a nice little chat...tea? perhaps you have brought biscuits?..."


This is so special and interesting to read about and to enjoy all the pictures, I love the bear that we see in your puzzle, Bill, thank you!

I, also, looked up the site. Very interesting! I love his photos, but the one thing I found was a photo of the bears surrounded by rusty old metal barrels which used to hold who knows what. It is one thing to leave abandoned buildings, but totally another to disregard nature and wildlife by leaving that kind of trash around. Those barrels should have been loaded up with whoever left there. I have a great love for polar bears and this just makes me downright sad. Thank you for the interesting article and photos, Bill-I-Am!


You're welcome, Janet. I love the look on this bear's face, like it is smiling at the photographer and has just settled down for a nice chat.


I'm glad you enjoyed them too, jamac. And you're welcome!


You're welcome, lovesgulls!


Thanks Bill, he looks quite contented...
and thanks for the link, beautiful work.

Nice puzzle of the polar bear. Checked out the photographer's website. Love the other picture of the bears, one inside and one out! Thanks for posting.


Thank you so much for your puzzle of the beautiful polar bear and the interesting info. Going to check right away!

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