Miriam (Mirra) Kaletskaya was born in 1920 in Vitebsk, in a family of teachers.
In 1938, Miriam Kaletskaya finished high school in Vitebsk with honors. She then moved to Moscow and enrolled in the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University.
In October 1942, a year after the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, Mirra Kaletskaya, then a fourth-year university student, volunteered to enlist in the army.
Initially, she was sent to Sverdlovsk, where the Kiev Military-Medical School had been evacuated. There, she completed an accelerated training course. Then, in the autumn of 1943, she was dispatched to the front as a military feldsher, in the rank of junior lieutenant of the medical service. At first, she worked as a nurse at a collecting hospital in Kiev, and later served as senior feldsher of a medical-sanitary platoon of a guards tank regiment. She evacuated and treated wounded soldiers in the territory of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Germany, as the Red Army advanced through these countries. For her service, she was awarded the Order of the Red Star and some medals.
After the end of the war, Miriam was discharged from the army in the rank of guards lieutenant. She then returned to Moscow and resumed her university education, at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology.
In 1948, after graduating cum laude, Miriam Kaletskaya was sent to work at the Darwin Nature Reserve, in Vologda Oblast. She worked there until her retirement in 2002. Kaletskaya, who had a candidate's degree in biological sciences, became a renowned expert in vertebrate ecology, and her studies are regarded as classics in the field of wildlife protection. She authored more than 60 scholarly articles, which were actively published.
Mirra Kaletskaya died in 2013, at the age of 93.