Kamchatka: see Russia’s Far East wilderness through the eyes of the people trying to save it
Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula is an oasis of steaming geysers, thermal hot springs and an incredible array of wildlife from roaming bears to rare sea eagles. The region is especially rich in marine mammals. The Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) has been dedicated to studying the killer whale since 1999. The western edges of the Sea of Okhotsk are notorious for orca captors: FEROP’s aim is to prevent these creatures being sold to aquariums in Russia and China. Photographer and volunteer Anastasia Korosteleva spent a month living in Avacha Bay, helping with research and the daily running of the camping ground there. “There was no internet or mobile signal: just our camp, the sky and the ocean. We lived in harmony with wildlife. In this remote, natural surrounding I felt like like a small guest in nature’s great kingdom,” she says. Nowhere is nature’s presence so quiet yet powerful as in the image of orcas exhaling in unison: this is nature at its most beautiful state, without any trace of human interference. “It really is a place of astonishing, untouched wilderness,” Korosteleva reflects. Though the region is abundant in wildlife, the photographer says that “it is also very fragile — human intervention can easily destroy it” — which is why organisations like FEROP are more important than ever.