These Polar Bears Are Living Their Best Life on an Abandoned Island

Polar Bears on Kolyuchin Island by Dmitry Kokh

Russian underwater and wildlife photographer Dmitry Kokh took a trip of a lifetime to an abandoned meteorological station on Kolyuchin Island. This small island, located in the Chukchi Sea, is in a remote area of the Russian arctic. While humans have long since left the area, Kokh discovered that there are other creatures making themselves comfortable. Polar bears have overtaken the station, turning the old buildings into cozy homes and, from the looks of it, thriving.

Kokh's photos are a welcome sight, as we're often shown images of polar bears who are struggling. But here, we are able to see these incredible creatures lounging on the grass or peering out from windows to see what Kokh is up to. This thrilling opportunity to see the polar bears is something that Kokh will not soon forget. He and his traveling companions covered over 1,200 miles of the coast in a sailboat, exploring the untouched landscape.

Their original destination to photograph polar bears—Wrangle Island—turned out to be a bust. Though the island is famous for its bears, they simply weren't there when the adventurers landed. Instead, they were treated to something that was perhaps better—and certainly more unexpected.

“Nature always sends you something when you least expect it,” Kokh tells My Modern Met. “When we passed through the Kolyuchin Island near the Northern coast of Chukotka, we saw some movements in the windows of the abandoned houses. And when we got close—those were bears! Never before they were seen in those buildings, so that was a once in a lifetime situation.”

See more photos from Dmitry Kokh's once-in-a-lifetime encounter with polar bears.

Polar Bears on Abandoned Island in Russia

Polar Bears on Kolyuchin Island by Dmitry Kokh

Cute Polar Bears Peeking Through a Window

The bears seem to be thriving in an abandoned meteorological station in the Russian arctic.

Polar Bears on Abandoned Island in Russia

Polar Bears on Abandoned Island in Russia

Polar Bears on Abandoned Island in Russia

Kokh's group happened to pass by the location—Kolyuchin Island—when they noticed the population of polar bears.

Poalr Bear in Front of an Abandoned House

Polar Bear in Russia

Polar Bears on Abandoned Island in Russia

Dmitry Kokh: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Dmitry Kokh.

Related Articles:

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Photographer Waits 117 Hours in Subzero Temperatures to Capture First Glimpse of Polar Bear Cubs

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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