Images and text by Vladimir Kushnarev
Everything in the world goes round. From the birth and flourishing to extinction and complete fusion with the Universe.
It’s not us who determine if this circle is large or small, although we are sure of the opposite.
The two circles of life – one deep in the ocean and the other on land – go most all their way independently of each other, but there is a place on earth where they will intersect and become a common story. A survival story.
This place is called Kamchatka.
Every autumn, millions of ocean-going salmon are filled up with fry who slip into the ocean from swift freshwater rivers. And for many years, the fry will keep growing and gaining weight until a strange signal sends them back, a few thousand kilometers far from their habitat. How and in what magic way would they find this only route, first through the deep dark ocean and then through the tangle of rivers, streams, and brooks, to find themselves in the very place, the very river where they were born a few years ago?
It’s more like a miracle, like magic. But no one really knows how it happens. Every year several millions of salmon of different breeds take their final trip to the rivers of Kamchatka, to find the place of their birth, give life to their offspring, and to dissolve forever.
This life circle, taking place for hundreds or thousands of years again and again, unexpectedly gives life energy to another circle, this time on land. The life circle of Kamchatka bears.
On the first warm days in May, the bears come out of their dens, driven by hunger and the instinct of taking care of their cubs. Half asleep, just a few weeks after their hibernation, they survive on fresh grass, roots, and some insects. The summer in Kamchatka will be very short, and soon the bears’ life will depend only on salmon and on whether the bear gains enough fat before the next hibernation to survive till spring.