An unforgettable Encounter

Location: Kuhmo – Finland,
Story by: Kirsti Timonen


Kirsti Timonen loves being outdoors, she goes out in the nature to take photographs and pick mushrooms, for example. One time she realized she was picking up mushrooms right next to a bear. But she wasn’t afraid, she felt lucky to meet such a large animal up close.


Kirsti Timonen from Kuhmo was picking up mushrooms with her husband.

I asked my husband what could have made traces of digging into the stumps. Be that as it may, a bear’s head rose behind a pile of twigs nearby. It had eyes wide open, as if to ask us “did you just mention me?”,

Timonen smiles.


The bear stared at Kirsti and her husband for a moment and turned its head, probably to look for an escape route. Then it ran at the blink of an eye, and it was on the edge of the forest. 

“There it still stood up and watched at us, I bet it was wondering to itself, what awful animals it just encountered with”,

Timonen sums up.  


Tourism is an activity that an bring society closer to large carnivores and increase the real knowledge on the species among citizens. When the participants observe these animals in the wild, a bond is created and the awareness of the needs and the lifestyle of the animals is rising. For some,  this experience is a dream come true. There are a lot of different activities that can be offered: photo tourism, talks, field trips with biological materials (skulls and skins), tracking courses or observation trips. Also a visit to a shepherd and other people who have historically shared the territory can be arranged to let the public know.


Timonen has been watching bears and large carnivores for 20 years. Ten years ago she started to photograph the nature. from time to time she has encountered large carnivores.

“There has been no fear in these encounters. More admiration. I feel like a lottery winner when I get to see the large carnivores so close.”