Bears in Finland
Finland is home to approximately 1200 brown bears which are mainly located in eastern Finland, close to the Russian border, where there is less human habitation. The viewing season runs between April and September, before the weather starts to turn colder and the bears go into hibernate. June is mating season for brown bears, so we could be lucky enough to see the male bears following a female mate. By travelling in spring (May), any cubs that have been born over the winter start to take their first explorations into their surroundings. The long northern summer means that there is between 12 and 16 hours of direct sunlight each day, plus 2 to 4 hours of twilight - all the more light for trying to observe these inquisitive giants of the forest.
On this trip, although bear sightings are not guaranteed, it is common to see a number of individual bears from our hides during one night. There is a variety of other wildlife in the area that we may also be fortunate enough to see including owls, wolverine, foxes and elk.
Top Tips for bear watching
Charlotte Wren, one of Explore's Customer Sales and Support Executives has these five top tips for anyone hoping to spot bears in Finland.
Wild Brown Bear Centre – Supplementary feeding
- If you can manage it, avoid sleep. You just don’t know when a bear is going to emerge. The group will wake you when there are bears but there’s nothing more exciting than having that sighting. It’s amazing how loudly you can whisper BEAR!
- Understandably everyone wants pictures of the bears they spot but try not to live through the lens and take some time to watch through the viewing window.
- Before your night in the hide, ensure batteries are charged and you have sufficient memory on your camera for all the photos.
- Take slippers! Outdoor shoes aren’t allowed in the hide because they can be noisy and no one wants chilly feet.
- Pack your mossie spray for the daytime, you are right next to a lake and they are a constant companion.
In Finland poaching and hunting is still evident in rural communities, wolves and wolverines in particular are targeted. We believe that well managed tourism can highlight the conversation benefits from these beautiful animals, generating alternative reliable incomes and creating reserves where wildlife can live without fear. We do not condone wildlife baiting in general, and we have taken great care to ensure we are happy with the practices at this sanctuary. Small amounts of food are provided daily to minimise reliance and avoid predictable and learned behaviours, animals still need to forage naturally for their food. It is our belief that educating and supporting responsible tourism practices are more sustainable that the short term benefits from hunting and poaching.