Never before has the wild produced a more unlikely or majestic friendship. Take the most powerful creatures in the woodland and turn them into hunting buddies and what do you get? A photographers wet-dream and international sensation of animal-loving internet onlookers.
Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen was able to capture the union of a female grey wolf and male brown bear, documenting the unusual pair over the course of ten days. The two go everywhere together. Hunting as a team and sharing their spoils, the animals constitute what is likely the scariest shit that lower food chain animals have seen since the birth of the clear-cutting machine.To spectators, they represent the fluidity and unrelenting beauty of the wilderness. But the friendship also reminds us of the importance of maintaining our earth’s untrodden backcountry.
In Finland, the most forested country in Europe, there are 4.5 hectares of forest for every person. Clearcutting in Finland operates under strict requirements so as not to entirely deplete the land. Finnish law maintains that one must leave “at least 5-10 trees on every clearcut hectare,” according to the Finnish Forest Association. These trees are to remain permanent residents of the land. This is a good lesson for Canadian rainforest logging practices, 74% of which is done by clearcutting, leaving some of the world’s oldest, most biologically diverse and extraordinary forests at risk, along side salmon populations and “spirit bear” habitats, according to David Suzuki and Valhalla Wilderness Society. Think about it—we could be fucking up our chance to see a spirit bear befriend a killer whale.
Until then, this bear-wolf friendship is a symbol of our responsibility to guard Earth’s wildlife we need so desperately both in practice and pleasure.
Damn Mother Nature, you sexy.