andrey shapran

Bear patrol

The story of «bear patrol» Ryrkaypiy village in Chukotka
In winter white bears walk the streets of Ryrkaypiy village as naturally as people. But the patrol created by locals isn`t there to protect people from the bears, but the other way round - to prevent animal poaching. Andrew Shapran is a photographer, who spent two months in the village to see how it feels - living with the bears.
«Bear patrol» – is a voluntary service, partially funded by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). All the money received by the village are divided equally among three voluntary "guardians".

«Our patrol is a non-commercial organisation, we are not promoting tourism, neither do we kill polar bears».

Funding from World Wildlife Fund for the support and development of the patrol is being cut every year.
In late october we go to the western hillside of Cape Kozhevnikov. We walk 1,5 km of wet snow, the temperature has just got below zero, the snowy wind blows, our feet start sinking in the snow. «A bear can be anywhere and stay invisible till the last minute, - says Tatiana, "Bear Patrol" volunteer, - it`s an animal with incredible camouflage skills. Once I came very close to a bear lying on the rocks, and only the dog saved me from trouble of this unexpected meeting. The bear kept lying there as if nothing happened».

«People don`t know how to behave around bears - they put fish under their nose or condenced milk, want to pet them- «Good dog!», some of them even try to approach them drunk». our goal is to educate people gradually about this different culture.
The night before some of the locals called in to say he «saw a bear in the area». These calls will repeat numerously till the migration of polar bears end.
The fear of these animals is very strong in Rykarpiy people.
It`s hard to get used to living side by side with white bears.
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