Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brown bears of Finland 30.8.1989

The Brown Bear is the national symbol of Finland. Some 1,000 bears are estimated to live in Finland. There are excellent opportunities to see bears in Finland. In Finland there are currently about 800 to 900 brown bears and they distributed allover the country. Despite this, population density varies and is still rather low in western and southern Finland. Core area of the Finnish population is in the southeast of the country. At the beginning of the 20th century the brown bear nearly disappeared from northern Europe and the Finnish population reached its minimum around 1920. Afterwards the population started to grow again, first slowly, then with acceleration since the 1970s. The immigration of brown bears from Russia has been scientifically revealed for the first time then and dispersion to the southern and western parts of the country has been observed since then.
The Finnish population is estimated at around 1000 individuals, but despite this low figure it is still-hunted. Without reinforcements from behind the Russian border, Finnish bears would long since have been hunted to extinction. Most bruins live in the large wilderness areas on the Russian side of the Finnish border. When the hunting season starts, many move back to the quieter Russian backcountry only to return in spring after hibernation. Watching and photographing bears in Finland is possible. A good time is from the middle of April to the beginning of June when the bears have just awoken from their winter sleep. After this comes the rut, when eating is not the animals’ main concern. The best viewing time lasts from the beginning of July to the middle of August, when feeding points again have plenty of bears to watch and photograph.
The stamp designed by Pirkko Vahtero was awarded the second price in the International Philatelic Exhibition in Vienna WIPA for the best stamp of the year 1989. Since 1981 the organising committee of WIPA, the Vienna International Philatelic Exhibition, has awarded the annual Grand Prix de l’Exposition WIPA for the best postage stamp issued during any one year. The stamp is the highest denomination (FIM 50) Finnish stamp. The stamp and the cover were issued on 30.8.1989. Thank you Pia for this nice First Day Cover.

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