Several residents of the Gjerdrum area northeast of Oslo spotted a surprise visitor over the weekend; a brown bear sauntering along a local road to the village of Ask. They were advised by a wildlife researcher to simply start singing a song if they encounter the bear on foot, to signal that they’re human.
The bear is often just as “surprised to see a human” as the other way around, Paul Eric Aspholm of research institute NIBIO told newspaper Aftenposten. Singing can calm the bear, and he seriously suggested a lullaby called Bjørnen sover (The bear is sleeping). “They are always very wary of people,” Aspholm said. With good reason, since Norwegian policy is often to shoot bothersome wildlife, especially predators that can harm free-grazing livestock.
The spottings of the bear in Gjerdrum, a rural area that’s developed into a commuter suburb, were at least the fifth in the past week and mostly from cars. Reports came in from Stange and Eidsvoll farther to the north, then from Fenstad and as far south as Skedsmokorset, a residential area on the busy E6 motorway that’s grown rapidly in recent years.
One resident on her way to Ask early in the morning told Aftenposten that the bear reared up on its back legs as her car approached, “so I reversed slowly.” Others have seen the bear moving fairly rapidly through a field and crossing a road not far from Nannestad. There were no reports of any livestock being attacked.