They're great pictures – couldn't we share them with other people? That was the idea of a small group enthusiastic about some wildlife pictures from Finland's easternmost corner. And now the cameras provide live cover worldwide of wildlife from just near the Finnish-Russian border.
Deer, lynx, wolverine, wildfowl, pigeons, hares.
There's a lot of activity at the top of Möhkö Fell, in the easternmost corner of Finland, right next to the Russian border. Alapiha Farm, created years ago by sheer hard work in these backwoods, no longer sees many visitors, but lots of wild animals /wildlife instead.
—We're right next to Russia. Animals cross the border, and the nearby lakes and rivers, like Koitere, guide them in this direction quite naturally, says Markku Kastinen, one of the nature lovers behind the live wildlife camera services.
”Damned good photos”
In the beginning it was just Markku and a small group of friends who shared the enjoyment of looking at photos taken by a wildlife camera in the woods.
— Everybody was enthusiastic over the pictures. Then we started to think, couldn't we share them more widely. And then somebody thought ”Why not a live camera?”
And now there's a remote live camera following animal wildlife there, next to the Russian border.
— If this gets even a single person interested in nature, it's been worth it, says Markku.
Work and peacefulness in the forest
Most of the men make their living as forest machine operators.
— We make our living from the forests. That's why the natural well-being is important to us, Markku Kastinen says.
He shows a mobile phone video from a colleague in Germany. The air is thick with flying beetles which are destroying huge areas of spruce forest in Central Europe.
— To prevent widespread storm and insect damage we have to apply forestry methodology which promotes species variety and protects the environment, leaving wildlife areas and dead trees untouched by harvesting, for example.
He takes Alapiha Farm as an example. Since his father's death the farm has passed to his heirs, and is now the main base of the wildlife camera production.
— Varied nature is important to us. Five percent of our land is totally protected from felling. The forests in Finland are becoming spruce dominated and we are we are deliberately replacing some spruce stands by deciduous trees and favouring variety by increasing mixed forest.
Observation tower povides a look across the Russian border
Eero Kastinen, Markku's father, built a 22-metre observation tower on the top of Möhkö Fell in 2011. When the Fell itself rises to 194 m asp, it offers magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside.
And the tower is only 2 kilometres from the Russian border. So the tower offers marvellous views across the border: beyond the gap left by the border zone there's an enormous area of bog, forest and lakes stretching as far as the eye can see.
All round Möhkö Fell there are large waterways which attract migrating flocks of Arctic birds. It's one of the best towers in Finland, says Pentti Zetterberg, a birdwatcher who has helped build several towers.
— The first spring after the tower was built I saw 5 different eagle species in a single day. This is quite exceptional in Finnish terms, says Zetterberg.
According to him, the tower is in the Finnish front line regarding the autumn Arctic goose migration.
— And often the same birds aren't seen anywhere else in Finland. Magnificent place, says Zetterberg.