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18 Jul, 2009 08:44

Land of bears and eagles – Magadan

Home to Gulag labour camps under Stalin and one of the largest gold-mining centers in the country, the Magadan region of Russia boasts amazing untouched landscapes.

Wilderness that takes your breath away… Few tourists travel to these parts and no pre-packaged trips are available, but the joy of the wild is guaranteed.

Zoology professor Evgeny Potapov works in the US and travels to these remote areas in Russia every summer. Evgeny says that he cannot find untouched landscapes like this anywhere else in the world.

Indeed, rivers full of fish and sea lions resting on rocks are just a few things that can surprise a curious visitor. The Magadan region is also home to brown bears, which you can easily spot by small rivers.

Bears are usually the first to avoid contact with humans, but during their spawning time when both people and bears go fishing, people often have to shoot at the animals to scare them away.

And every year there are casualties when people are attacked by bears.

Still, this does not scare away hunters who flock to the region to try their rifles. Bear hunting has become a real source of income for the local tourist industry.

She said that the majority of hunters come from abroad – mainly from the United States, but many from Latin America and Europe.

Meanwhile, the Magadan region is also the home terrain for many other species.

The largest in the world, Steller's sea eagle with a wing span of two and a half meters, nests only here, in Russia's Far East – as the local abundance of salmon and seagulls feeds the giant.

Still, despite the unique nature and fauna of the place, not many tourists dare venture along its wild paths. Evgeny Potapov says that those who do come here are very special and adventurous people.

”Here nothing is guaranteed,” the scientist said. “There is nothing really you can plan or predict. You have to rely on yourself and watch your back, if there's a bear somewhere you know you have to be prepared, and well prepared.”