Inside Abandoned Soviet Village Where Polar Bears Now Live In The Houses

A photographer, Dmitry Kokh from Moscow, was looking to take shelter from a storm when he came across a group of polar bears who had taken over an old Soviet Village as their own.

Dmitry, while sailing in a yacht on the way back from a trip to Chukotka and Wrangel Island, encountered a bad weather which caused them to approach the abandoned island of Kolyuchin in Russia.

He had been on a journey of 1,200 miles of untouched landscapes and villages when he approached the island. .

Both the captain and Dmitry thought the island was abandoned, but to his delight, the old Soviet village is now inhabited by a group of polar bears living in the houses.

“Kolyuchin is known for the polar weather station that operated on it in Soviet times. Though the station was closed in 1992, the abandoned village still stands on the island,” Dmitry told Daily Star.

“Suddenly, we noticed movement in the windows of the houses. Someone took out some binoculars and we saw the heads of polar bears! I felt a childlike sense of wonder and excitement.”.

On seeing the new residents of the island, Dmitry wanted to get closer but knew it was going to be difficult as he did not want to disturb the animals.

He decided the only way to get close was to use a drone equipped with low-noise propellers in order to capture the bears in their homes.

However, despite his attempts to go undetected, the bears’ curiosity meant the drone was spotted.

Dmitry said: “It was one of the most thrilling moments of my life. You don’t really have time to rationalise or analyse or ponder – ‘why?’ You’re just in the moment – in awe, in excitement and also focused on trying to capture it all and not mess up.

“Bears are very curious by nature so they walked around the houses, checked every door, window, nook and cranny. There were about 20 animals insight at the same time, mostly males. The females kept to the side with their cubs, closer to the shores of the island.

“I shot from a drone equipped with low-noise propellers so as to not disturb them. So they did not see us, but they did notice the drone. Bears are very curious and were probably intrigued by this ‘”weird-looking bird”, which was amazing for me as they looked right into the camera.”

Credit: Simon Hamalienko,

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