• Sweden's news in English

'Bears most feared by Swedes': report

Tom Sullivan · 13 Feb 2010, 10:59

Published: 13 Feb 2010 10:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A survey by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, SLU) found that while the numbers of wild animals in Sweden increased in recent decades, fewer Swedes are venturing out into the wild, thereby increasing their fear of the unknown.

"We're not at all out in nature to the same extent as before so we don't really know how to react if we bump into wild animals," Camilla Sandström, a researcher who worked on the report, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The numbers of wild animals, which are protected in Sweden by strict hunting quotas, has risen steadily in recent decades to an estimated 3,000 bears, 150,000 wlld boar and 300,000 elk.

When surveys began in the 1980s most Swedes feared encountering an elk but the latest report reveals that almost a half of Swedes are most afraid of bears while a third worry about stumbling across a wild boar. About a quarter think snakes and wolves pose the greatest threat to ramblers.

Nonetheless, Michael Schneider, an expert on predators at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) says that peoples' fear of being mauled when out for a stroll is very often unjustified.

Story continues below…

"Nearly all the accidents that have happened over the last year were connected to hunting in one form or another - and not only bear hunting," he told SR.

"Normal forest lovers do not need to be afraid of bears."

Tom Sullivan (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:17 February 13, 2010 by Rick Methven
Saw an old Kieth Floyd program the other day. H was cooking Bear steaks out in the wilds. Claims they are very good with low Cholesterol
13:01 February 13, 2010 by Puffin
I went to a Julbord in southerna Dalarna a couple of years ago where roast bear was one of the cold cuts on offer as well as moose and wild boar sausage :-)
13:54 February 13, 2010 by Steggles
Well the Viking Bears I know are all very friendly :-)
18:37 February 13, 2010 by Danish Omer Zuberi
The rising bear population calls for concerted efforts to educate hikers and nature lovers on how to react when they encounter bears in wild. Keep as far away as possible unless you are a wild life photogropher, zoologist, an expert on the subject or any thing like that. Keep twice as far away if it is a Mama bear with her Baby bear or Papa bear with his supper. I think it would be nice to offer a cool bear lady in fur coat a beer.
19:16 February 13, 2010 by wxman
In Minnisota there are Vikings who fear The Bears as well!
23:17 February 13, 2010 by Soft Boiled
As far as I know (expat Brit), bears are only dangerous when they have cubs near. Almost all bear attacks occur when they are out to protect thier young. Ive seen adders and have hear stories of ppl seeing wolves (even in the center of Stockholm) . Seems to me wolves are still suffering from bad press, i sympathize with farmers who lose sheep but it is only natural behaviour on the wolves part and a price we pay for having such wonderful animals living wild in our forests. I would suggest the goverment covers the price of such attacks on sheep and other farm animals. Bring back shepherds as a job creation measure ;), there are ways to combat attacks; we arent living in the middle ages any longer.
04:16 February 14, 2010 by EFagerberg
My grandmother was a shepherd in the late 1800's/early 1900's in the Are area. She wound up having a bear killed that was attacking her sheep. Apparently her grandfather was quite prolific at killing bears and wolves....but it seems he must have missed one or two. One of the bears did get even...it bit his leg and he walked with a bit of a limp after that for the rest of his life.
04:25 February 14, 2010 by Greg in Canada
We have an estimated 60,000 black bears in Ontario. I live in rural eastern Ontario and have seen bears on numerous occassions. 99.9% of the time a bear will run when it sees a human. About once every ten years there is a bear attack, but its almost always when the human encounters a mother with cubs.

I run on forest trails with my dog where we know there are bears. He wears a bell on his dog collar to warn them we are in the area and no bear ever bothers us. They will always avoid humans.
09:19 February 14, 2010 by johnnyrebel
One of the things I love best about Sweden...there are not so may people.
13:29 February 15, 2010 by Sjayna
I really hope swedish predator policy is not going back from the state-supported protection to state-supported persecution. It's sad, that the hunters and reindeer industry have too much political power....
18:47 February 15, 2010 by deekay5000uk
I love these posts.....no reason why we cant live side by side with these wonderful animals. Certainly farmers are entitled to be upset when they lose their sheep, but as a wealthy society surely we can compensate the farmers accordingly.....I saw a bear playing with her cubs once and it was a wonderful experience....We were quite close and they took no notice of us whatsoever.....
01:07 February 16, 2010 by Greg in Canada
"It's sad, that the hunters and reindeer industry have too much political power.... "

Its not just Sweden. At least Ontario banned the spring bear hunt several years ago, but there was strong opposition from those involved in the hunting industry.

Several years ago B.C. allowed a wolf cull. One of the top B.C. politicians had an elk/deer hunting business on the side, so the advice of the conservationists and scientists against the hunt was ignored. Political corruption at its finest..
16:07 February 16, 2010 by Sjayna
Yes, I know, predators has always been highly controversial subject in many countries, the conflicts with the human beings are always the main reason. However, the Swedish Parliament has decided to ensure the long-term survival of our predators! Why conflicts? The parliament also points out that maintaining reindeer industry, hunting etc are national goals.Can we balance these goals? It will be difficult... Ok, we have grants to compensate/prevent for damage...but its not enough ...the hunter dont want to chear the 'elk output' and the reindeer owner wants to keep the reindeers for himself. According to the swedish predator policy, predators are allowed to spread within the limits of their natural range (central and northern Sweden) but at the same time the Parliament has decided that the predators status in reindeer areas (around 40 % of the land area !) should not affect the reindeer industry. Almost impossible situation! Inhabitants in 'predator areas', reindeer owners and hunters claims that the decisions should be taken at the local level. Do they want to have this animals? NO...I dont think its right that these groups, who only look after their own interests, should form and rule the swedish predator policy. Predators in Sweden are listed in Red List, the bear is classified as 'near threatened', wolf as 'critically endangered' and so on...Last week they discovered a wolf,who had moved from South to North Sweden, now the reindeer company will apply for permission to kill the wolf... How come that Sweden, a country who can't take care of its own predators have impudence to criticize Australien, Indien, Japan etc and their predator policy...
20:26 February 19, 2010 by BLADESKATER00
Wise people will arm themselves with the appropriate firearms to properly defend themselves from wild animals and violent humans. "Normal" people who go into the forest--are also at risk.
08:52 February 20, 2010 by norling
Minnesota, spell it correctly. You must be from chicocko.
10:00 February 20, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Norling...Correcting others spelling and grammer for that matter, in this forum is expressly forbidden.
00:37 March 4, 2010 by dwiener
No rattlesnakes in Sweden, right? You're ahead of the game!
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available