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.