A Finnish photographer witnessed a scene almost plucked from a storybook fairytale. From the safety of a cottage, he captured a seemingly magical scene of three bear cubs that appear to dance in a circle while their mother watches on. As bears tend to avoid human contact, such images are indeed rare and unusual.
Valtteri Mulkahainen is a physical education teacher from Sotkamo in Finland who has been dedicating his free time to photographing beautiful scenes of flora and fauna in his Finland. It was June 2013 when he saw the mother bear and her three cubs while exploring a forest around the town of Martinselkonen.
At first, the then-53-year-old wasn’t sure if the scene in front of him was even real. “When I saw them standing on their hind legs, I thought I imagined it,” he recalled, per Daily Mail. However, it wasn’t his imagination. The man not only watched but also photographed and shared something extraordinary with the world.
While he was taking pictures of the seemingly surreal moment, Mulkahainen said it reminded him of watching human children play with each other. “They were playing and even started a few friendly fights. I felt like I was on a playground in front of my house, where small children frolic around,” he explained per Bored Panda. “That’s how much they reminded me of little children. At one point, the three of them got up on their hind legs and started pushing each other. It was like they were dancing in a circle.”
The man said he was so amazed at watching the cute bears play with each other that he was half expecting them to begin talking. “If the bears began to sing, I probably wouldn’t have been surprised because it was so unusual to watch,” he said, per Daily Mail.
While only 50 meters away from the bears, the man spent all evening and all night photographing the adorable action. “It seemed like I was in the middle of the magic forest in a fairy tale.”
However, despite being so close to the animals, the photographer said he never feared for his own safety. “It wasn’t scary because the photographs were taken from a small cottage, so security was guaranteed,” he explained.
According to Mulkahainen, the cubs’ mom never left their sight and let them play while she was eating. He also noticed some surprising facts about the animals. “It was interesting to observe that they are all different in character—some were bullies, and others avoided fights and were calm,” he added.
“Most of their scenes are reminiscent of characters from fairy tales about bears where all the bears walk on their hind legs and twist dance,” Mulkahainen added.
According to National Park Service, bears are well known for avoiding humans as much as they can. Hence, such an opportunity to take such images is rare.