Another Famous Bear Enthusiast Eaten
One of Russia’s best known bear researchers/observers, Vitaly
Nikolayenko, was found half eaten in Kamchatka. A large swath of orange
pepper spray at the scene of the mauling indicates that he tried to
defend himself without success. An unfired flare gun was lying next to
his half consumed body as well as a six and a half-inch wide paw prints
from a medium-sized male bear. Tracks also indicate Vitaly may have been
tracking and photographing another large male bear. His camera was found
broken and bloody nearby.
Vitaly was a senior ranger on the Kronotsky Wildlife Reserve. He was a
self-educated researcher/observer and photographer who has spent
twenty-five years living with and documenting the behavior of brown
bears in Kamchatka. He was probably one of the most experienced bear
enthusiasts in the world. He reportedly had documented encountering an
average of 800 bear a year. We do not know if he ever had to resort to
pepper spray before. Regardless, it did not work adequately.
This mauling occurred just two months after bear researcher/observer
Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by a brown
bear in Alaska.