15 Man Who Spoke With Bears

Man Who Spoke With Bears

Posted on December 27, 2010 by team

Vitaly Nikolaenko, a famous animal photographer, died 7 years ago. He spent 33 years traveling around the world and walked thousands of kilometers. His passion was brown bears. He met them 800 times and had 12 thousand shots of these animals.

He devoted his life to the brown bears. Unfortunately one of these animals took the Vitaly Nikolaenko’s life in 2003

He was a naughty child spending much time outdoors. He didn’t remember his father because he died during the war. At 14 years old Vitaly started reading classic literature and stopped being naughty. Later he joined the army and after that devoted himself to self-education.

At the young age he changed a great variety of different jobs. But one day he saw an advertisement that said: Kamchatka Peninsula needs a fish processor. So in 1965 he found himself in the Lavrov Bay processing herrings. Some time later he dropped this job for another one – a tourism instructor. And this was the very beginning of his acquaintance with the Valley of Geysers and its residents – brown bears.

Vitaly made tours and people always listened to him very attentively trying to catch every word he said. He was a great orator. He loved people and his job. And very soon he started to realize that tourism made the valley lots of harm. Geyserite was used for making souvenirs, trees were burnt down for making a fire, garbage was almost everywhere. In 1975  this tourist route was closed for improvement but money wasn’t assigned for these purposes.

Since that time Vitaly started to learn the behavior of the brown bears in their natural habitat and collect priceless material about it (which made him popular around the world afterwards)

He was never apart from his camera

But bears weren’t always the Vitaly’s target. At first he wasn’t interested in shooting bears at all. Everything’s changed when he saw a young light-brown bear who let him come so closely that his muzzle could barely fit in the picture. Since that time he madly fell in love with brown bears

He knew his favourite bears by sight and gave all of them nicknames

His name was familiar to the whole world. Films were shot about him


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15 Responses to “Man Who Spoke With Bears”

  1. Anadyr express says:

    He was the “Most Interesting Man in the World”. Now that title belongs to Jonathan Goldsmith.

  2. testicules says:

    Too much vodka will make you think bears are your dead relatives.

  3. Musa says:

    Fascinating Post.

  4. FührerBunker.AT says:

    F. Bunker here.

    Ya bum ya!

  5. RB says:

    the saddest part about his death was that maybe if he had a real good lens he could have got the same close up shots without getting close up.

  6. One Of Many says:

    With this reply,i only wanna say to the maker(s) of this website.
    Ur website is really great!!Great pictures,Great topics,about the greatest country on the globe.
    I really learn from this site,with the content on it

    Go on with it,”never”shut down this site.

    -Уважение и приветствие от Нидерландов-

  7. Boris Badenov says:

    Bears are like dogs, very large dogs, and it is easy to see how a man can be lulled into a false sense of security around them, unfortunately, one bear was having a bad day and that’s all it takes.

    He was a great man who documented wild Russia and created interest in conservation.

  8. maze says:


    does anybody know the publisher of this book, some information like ISBN (or some russian equialent) or even a shop which still sells the book…did google for a while but didnt get anything…would be great if you guys here have some tips…

    thx :)

  9. George Johnson says:

    Great photo’s, but that’s what happens when you get too comfortable with wild animals. no matter how you feel about it, it’s STILL a WILD bear.

    There was a guy similar to him in the US, but a LOT crazier. He thought it was “one with the bear” or some nonsense like that.

    He really want trying to save them. But in doing so, he went overboard, and got just too close to them. Bears seem to “tolerate” or “allow” people to get just so close to them, then if you cross a line, (without knowing what that line IS), POW! They’ll kill you in a heart beat.

    The guy here crossed that line, and the bear(s) made a real mess of him.

    Best thing to do, is just use a telephoto lens and take photo’s from a larger distance. You’re NOT part of their clan, no matter how much you like them and how much they seem to “tolerate” you.

    You never know where that line is.

    Really nice photo’s though.

  10. Avenger says:

    Really amazing pictures! His lifestyle have took him away – it is the only way to finish life for hero. Thanks for this post. Unbelievable!

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