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Monday, May 20, 2024

Bears make news up north

Bears dominated local headlines in both Nord-Troms and Finnmark last week, after one got shot and a family of others starred in a real-life version of an old fairy tale.

First came the dramatic news of a bear that threatened local folks and, not least, their flocks of sheep in the small community of Skardalen, east of Tromsø along the southern end of the scenic Lyngen Fjord. Despite referring to the bear as a “fantastic, beautiful animal,” no less than 14 men took part in an authorized hunt for the doomed bear. They cornered and shot it and then dragged it into town for all the townsfolk to come and see. None would say which man actually shot the bear, reportedly for fear of reprisal from animal rights activists.

Then started what may become a struggle over which community can actually lay claim to the dead bear, killed in what locals called an “historic” hunt because it was the first time a bear had been shot in the area for many years. The local mayor noted that the state technically owns the cadaver, while newspaper Framtid i Nord reported that others believe a stuffed bear shot locally could become an attraction.

Meanwhile, on the eastern side of Norway’s most northern county of Finnmark, a family arriving at their holiday cabin in Jarfjord found it in a state of disarray with most of its stored food eaten up. Honey, jam and chocolate were among food items devoured, and one of the beds had clearly been used.

“It was almost like the fairy tale about Goldilocks and the three bears,” cabin owner Even Borthen Nilsen told newspaper Finnmarken. With tracks of various bear paws visible all over the cabin, it was clear that a group of bears had ransacked it after breaking through a small window two meters above ground level.

One local wildlife official said a mother bear with three cubs was observed in the area during the summer, and they were the likely culprits. They had fled before the cabin owners arrived and there were no plans to hunt them down.

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