Grizzly Seasons: Life with the Brown Bears of Kamchatka


154 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-679-31221-8
DDC 599.784




Reviewed by Peter Harmathy

Peter Harmathy teaches fine arts in Victoria.


Charlie Russell is a naturalist, writer, and photographer from Cochrane,
Alberta. His partner is Maureen Enns, an internationally known artist
and photographer. Together, they studied the bears of the Russian South
Kamchatka peninsula from 1994 to 2003, when their work came to a tragic
end. They co-authored Grizzly Heart: Living Without Fear Among the Brown
Bears of Kamchatka (2002) and produced a PBS documentary special
entitled Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia (2003).

Russell and Enns first set foot on the remote Kamchatka peninsula in
1994, taking advantage of the new freedoms that followed the fall of the
former Soviet Union. They built a cabin in 1996 and initiated an
unprecedented program of reintroduction when they obtained three
orphaned cubs from a Russian zoo in 1997. Grizzly Seasons centres on the
cubs Chico, Rosie, and Biscuit; their surprisingly easy transition into
the wild; and the remarkable human–grizzly bond that developed. More
than 150 colour photographs document the bears, the breathtaking
volcanic landscapes, and numerous human–bear interactions.

This book subverts all of our preconceptions about grizzlies. They are
caring, loving creatures who, like humans, respond readily to respect,
encouragement, and trust. Their high intelligence and perfect
adaptations make them much better equipped than humans for survival in
this harsh yet sublime arctic Eden. The savage poaching of almost 40
bears in their research area effectively ended Russell and Enns’s
work. Grizzly Seasons is sure to spark outrage against the senseless
slaughter of bears for their gall bladders.


Russell, Charlie, and Maureen Enns., “Grizzly Seasons: Life with the Brown Bears of Kamchatka,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 9, 2023,