Standing still or making waves every one of these awe-inspiring brown bears seems to have a different strategy to get a catch at Kurile Lake, a large caldera containing the crater lake located at the southern tip of Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian wilderness.
The brown bears – which are the largest in Eurasia – take part in one the greatest natural phenomenons on Earth as the hunt the annual spawning run of Pacific salmon. And for many of the tasty fish it’s a losing battle against the claws and teeth of the huge bears.
Those that don’t meet a grizzly end will die naturally feeding the waters of the lake with nutrients after they have laid their eggs to carry on the species. Kurile Lake is formed from a crater of an extinct volcano and reaches depths of around 1,000ft.
Czech wildlife photographer Petr Slavik, 44, spent weeks following the bears as they took advantage of the spawning fish filling the lake.
He said: ‘Photographing of big predators is a strong experience anywhere in the world.
‘The shores of the Kurile Lake offer such a concentration of bears that soon enough you will stop counting the bears who will get in front of your camera during a single day.
‘The Kamchatka subspecies of brown bear can reach more than a thousand pounds.
‘Thanks to millions of salmon which are coming every year to spawn, these giant animals have enough food and it is possible to observe quite often a bear female with three or four cubs.’
Petr said such was bears desire to hunt for the salmon it gave him amazing access.
He said: ‘When you are lying on the lake shore waiting for the right image, you will get in a close contact with these creatures.
‘A bear who is fishing concentrates so deeply on his prey that often he forgets the distance between you and him. When he splashes your camera with water you start to think, how close is too close?’
Attribution: Leon Watson