Back on Track
The weather here at Kambalnoye has been with hardly a cloud
for a week. Today it looks like the good spell is about to be
broken. Jeff Turner of the BBC will be here once more on July
26th to continue the documentary that they are making. Everything
that is now possible with BBC and with getting the cubs from
the zoo this year would not have happened without the help of
my friend Volodia Gordienko who worked with me here last year
with the five cubs. I want to thank him for his magical understanding
of how things work in Kamchatka. This year Volodia is my scientific
partner. He will be coming back to Kambalnoye with Jeff.
After all the problems I have had getting here this year, I
am finally getting back my feelings for what I long done with
my efforts towards changing bears experiences with humans around
the world by giving people a better understanding of them. This
past year has been a long hard lesson in how to keep focus on
one's goals no matter what difficulties get in one's way. There
is still a lot that I want to get done to improve on these goals
I set out to accomplish with the bears in Kamchatka. At times
it felt as though I lost my path in the labyrinth of bureaucracy,
but lately, with the help of Jeff and Sue Turner, who believe
in me, and Volodia Gordienko who understands how to cut through
red tape, I am on track again.
The experiences we are having with these cubs this year has
been different than I have had before. It was chaotic at first
because all they wanted to do was run. I suppose that it was
such a relief to be free after their zoo experience, they could
not believe their good fortune. It was with agile foot work
(not by me), that got us through that phase. Now they are behaving
more normally and our walks are under control. They are back
to a more reasonable pace that gives them and us a chance to
enjoy our surroundings.
The salmon and sea-run char are entering the lake now, even
though about 20% of it is still ice covered at this time past
the middle of July. With all the snow melt keeping the water
level in the river high, the fish are able to make the 15 km
journey quickly so the sockeye are still silver when they arrive.
Some bears are following them to the lake because they do not
have a easy time catching them in the usual places down stream.
But the fish in the lake also will not be available for them
until the salmon start to spawn in two or three weeks. Sometimes
when the water is low on a dryer year the salmon can not get
past all the bears and they have to wait for a freshet of rain
to give them enough water to navigate though all the teeth and
These two cubs are the smallest cubs I have ever had for their
age and the least enthusiastic about food. I was told that most
of the food they were getting at the zoo was out-of-date-yogurt.
It must have been tasty, because we have had a difficult time
to get them to eat the porridge of cooked sunflower seeds, rolled
oats, sugar, and vegetable oil that years previously the other
cubs have fought over. Lately they are showing more enthusiasm
for it, but they should be onto solid food by this date. However,
when I gave them a fish they had a big squall over who got what,
then they each ate their halves quickly. They will start to
grow rapidly as soon as the fish are available, which will be
The mountain slopes are getting vividly green, but the low places
are still full of snow. A few days ago I walked over a drift
that I know from the lay of the land is at least 50 feet deep.
Many of the ravines and canyons are still full. The melting
process will be happening all summer and fall and many big drifts
will still be here by the time the snow flies again in early
November. This means that there will be spring flowers blooming
into October as the snow melts back and the plants make their
rushed bid to flourish in the foreshortened time that is left
for them to display their beauty. Some of the bird species such
as duck, turns and gulls are having the same problem, in fact
the common turns have not showed up, or at least not stayed
here this year because their nesting places are still unavailable.
Will write again when Jeff Turner arrives.
Bye For Now,