The border between Finland and Russia runs some 1,340 kilometres through uninhabited taiga forests and sparsely populated rural areas. The Finnish Border Guard enforces a closed-off border zone of 0.1–3 km on the Finnish side, with regular K9 patrols.
Pentti Myllys lives close to the border in the city of Rautjärvi. He monitors three game cameras inside the border zone, where Finland's forest animals can wander free, as there are minimal human disturbances. Over the last year, Myllys has captured over 30 animal species on film, including bears, moose, wild boars, lynx and raccoon dogs.
Myllys changes the tapes in his cameras on a daily basis, and after watching the footage regularly, he has been able to identify many of the individual animals by their markings.
"I've seen ten or so different bears so far this year," he says. One mama bear he has followed has two cubs, while another has three.
One camera is at the intersection of a moose migration route
He says the wild animal that makes the most frequent appearance in front of the cameras is the Eurasian elk, widely known as a moose. He says the long grass and vegetation by the side of the road attracts the massive animals to his camera sites.
"A moose migration route from Russia even crosses the road where one of my cameras is located," he says.
Over the last seven years, Myllys has purchased ten different game cameras for monitoring wildlife in the border zone.
"The quality has improved and the prices have fallen. My first one cost 300 euros."
An area teeming with wildlife just 1.5 km from home
He says his three cameras are all located about one and a half kilometres from his home. One is just a few dozen metres from the Russian border.
The list of animal species Myllys has captured on video over the last year is impressive: bear, wolverine, wild boar, lynx, wolf, fox, badger, racoon dog, pine marten, stoat, weasel, otter, moose, roe deer, white-tailed deer, mountain hare, brown hare and polecat.
The variety of birds he has identified is also comprehensive: capercaillie, black grouse, hazel grouse, raven, buzzard, swan, barnacle goose, Canadian goose, crane, woodcock, mallard, goldeneye, blackbird, jay and white-backed woodpecker.