House of bears

Dmitry Kokh's Image

Dmitry Kokh (Russia) presents this haunting scene of polar bears shrouded in fog at the long-deserted settlement on Kolyuchin.

On a yacht, seeking shelter from a storm, Dmitry spotted the polar bears roaming among the buildings of the long-deserted settlement on the small island of Kolyuchin. While the females and their cubs kept closer to the shore, the males padded among the discarded fuel barrels. As they explored every window and door, Dmitry used a low-noise drone to take a picture that conjures up a post-apocalyptic future.

Polar bears are curious by nature and opportunistic hunters. In the Chukchi Sea region, these usually solitary bears migrate further north in the summer, following the retreating sea ice which they depend on for hunting their main prey - seals.

In September 2021, the loose pack ice stayed near the coast of this rocky island and the bears came ashore to investigate.

Sugandhi Gadadhar, wildlife filmmaker and judge said, 'This is a perfect example of how animals can adapt to any situation or setting, if we do not interfere with them. Or is it a warning of how things are to be in the future – where wildlife is seen more in urban landscapes, while their own homes are dwindling?'

Behind the lens

Dmitry Kokh

Dmitry Kokh


Dmitry is a wildlife and underwater photographer who tries to capture decisive moments in nature and to show wildlife contextually in its environment. He enjoys the process of creating memorable and beautiful pictures and hopes that they will inspire people in some way to care about and conserve the natural world. His approach is borne out of his enthusiasm and energy - full immersion, staying innovative and focusing on storytelling.

Image details

  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • Hasselblad L1D-20c
  • 1/160 sec at f2.8  •   ISO 640
  • Kolyuchin Island, Chukotka, Russia
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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Polar frame

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