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Bear cubs put down after poacher attack

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13:39 CET+01:00
Three bear cubs have been put down outside of Rättvik in central Sweden after their mother was mortally injured by hunters. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of poaching.

The mother was also put down as a result of her injuries sustained in the incident which occurred in the woods by Röjeråsen near Rättvik in Dalarna.

The two arrested men, aged 66 and 68, were taken in for questioning and have as a result been arrested on a warrant from the environmental unit in Stockholm on suspicion of aggravated poaching offences. Both men are resident in Dalarna.

"Due to the ongoing investigation we are not able to say any more (about the interview) at the moment," said Sven-Åke Petters at Dalarna police.

According to Petters, the police received a report from a private person that a female bear had been injured. The bear was then tracked and captured and, after an analysis of her injuries, was put down.

When the bear was captured it was discovered that she was bearing milk and so it was concluded that she had young.

"It was possible to follow the bear's tracks back to her winter lair where we found three bear cubs which were then also put down," said Sven-Åke Petters.

The cubs were just a few months old, according to the National Veterinary Institute in Uppsala where the four dead bears were taken.

"The cubs would not have had any chance to survive. They would have died of thirst and hunger without their mother," said bear expert Sven Brunberg at the Scandinavia Brown Bear Project.

The men maintain in their defence that they were skiing in the woods when they were attacked by the female bear who leapt out of the snow-covered lair. They claim that the bear was injured after they shot in self-defence, according to a report in the Aftonbladet tabloid.

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