About 18 miles south of Kuusamo, Finland you will find an old farm sitting on the edge of a lake. This is the home of Sulo Karjalainen, who many may know as the “Bear Man” of Finland due to the dozen or so orphan brown bears you can always find at his farm. According to Finland’s official tourism website, Karjalainen first started taking in these large predators while working on a research project involving bears. Injured or orphaned animals would be dropped off at his farm, and although many were eventually released back into the wild, many stayed with their caretaker.
“People know me because of the animals. That makes me happy,” Karkalainen said. “When you’ve lived in the forest since childhood, you’re naturally close to animals. I remember when I was a little boy I used to spend days in the sheep pen while my mother was milking the cows. I wasn’t even ten before I first saw a bear in the wild.”