Animal world of Kamchatka Peninsula
The animal world of Kamchatka is diverse with such important species as Brown Bear, which is common to see as you travel, Red Fox, Arctic Fox, Hare, Sable, Mink, Wolf, Lynx, Elk, Reindeer, Snow Sheep, Otter, and others. Among the sea mammals are Seal, Fur Seal, Sea-lion, and Sea Otter. There are frequent sightings of dolphins, and occasionally, whales.
The most important bird species are the magnificent Steller's Sea Eagle, Golden Eagle and Peregrine, Rock and Willow Ptarmigan, Black-billed capercailye, Long-tailed Hawk, and Owl. Some birds, for instance Partridges, Capercailye and Swans, - stay on the peninsula throughout the year, while others - in particular Geese and Ducks, - come to this remote place every spring for nesting. The coastal cliffs and rocky islands are inhabited by Sea Gulls, Cormorants, Puffins, and others.
More than thirty species of fish can be found in Kamchatka rivers, lakes, and seas, surrounding the peninsula. Among them are Salmon, Herring, Flounder, Halibut, Cod, Sea Perch, Crucial and others. It is of special interest that some species of wild animals and birds widely spread in similar natural zones on the mainland, are not found in every place of Kamchatka due to its harsh climate with long snowy winters. In particular, Kamchatka has no snakes or frogs. Neither do we have Starlings, Storks, Herons, or Swallows. It was only a few years ago that Sparrows appeared in Kamchatka and succeeded in settling here.
Europeans, who first appeared in Kamchatka in the 18th century, were stunned with the extensive number of brown bears. Their size was terrifying, but the local bears, unlike their Siberian relatives, happened to be quite harmless. Perhaps the reason of Kamchatka bears' peaceful personality is their fish 'diet' that they prefer to the meat one. Since the dawn of times, ample salmon has been the basic food for the Master of Kamchatka, and the major source of fat stocks that allowed bears to survive through the long Kamchatka's winter.
Even though after winter hibernation bears are very hungry, they still do not represent a threat to the warm-blooded species, except for ground squirrels, which bears sometimes dig right out from of the winter burrow. It may seem incredible, but the huge predator follows an almost exclusively vegetarian diet for several months before the rivers are full of fish. In July you can observe an idyllic picture of bears grazing like domestic cattle in the forest's berry fields and in the coastal tundra. Kamchatka's bears are pragmatic and cowardly. They are easily satisfied and save themselves from a lot of trouble that bears in the Siberian taiga face. This is why nine in ten Kamchatka bears prefer to run away from a potentially dangerous situation.
If you are serious in your intention to meet a Kamchatka's bear, forget a fairy-tale image of a foolish bumpkin. This is an animal of enormous strength and endurance, excellent reaction, and exact movements. Its teeth break a bone of any size, its claws can shift boulders, it can climb almost vertical slopes, and sit in the icy water for hours. Bears are wonderful swimmers, they can catch up with a horse at a short distance. Though bears can not run long distances, they are the first-class walkers that can cover a good hundred kilometers a day. The only thing is that bears can't do very well is climb trees: they are presumably too heavy for it...
No other bird in Kamchatka can rival with Steller's sea eagle in beauty and majesty. This relict predator inhabits both coasts of the peninsula. Its disproportionately large beak and monstrous claws can cause lethal wounds to a deer or a sheep; however, they are mostly used to catch salmon. The Steller's sea eagle is one of the biggest Russian birds, its wings stretch up to 2,5 meters, and it has enormous nests.
In the Kronotsky Park a very old nest was found, its height reaches nearly two meters! The eagles loyally used the nest for years, renovating and expanding it, until the Erman birch which held this "aerodrome" finally cracked. An eagle usually lays two eggs, but only one of the two survives. The Steller's sea eagle is very cautious and protective of his privacy. Kamchatka is the only place on Earth where these eagles reside. The eagle's population (over 4,000 birds with a 1,000 nesting pairs on the peninsula) is relatively stable and this status can be maintained as long as unless the human beings don't start their "victorious" march across wild Kamchatka.