Researcher mauled by ‘sleeping’ bear

Peter Segerström, a Swedish predator researcher, was attacked on Monday by a bear who had been put to sleep to be tagged.

Researcher mauled by 'sleeping' bear

“It bit pretty hard,” Segerström said to the local Norrländska Socialdemokraterna daily.

After the attack Segerström was taken to Gällivare hospital for treatment for arm injuries as the bear had managed to register some fairly deep cuts in both arms with its jaws.

The harrowing attack occurred near Nausta outside of Jokkmokk in the far north of Sweden after Segerström had shot a sedation dart into a female bear with the intention of tagging the animal.

As it was a warm day the researcher had dragged the sedated bear to a water-hole to cool her off and prevent any adverse health effects. It was then that the bear awoke with a start and went on the attack.

Segerström battled the enraged animal for around 30 seconds as he was being bitten on the arms which he had raised to protect his head and throat.

“It got a little chaotic. The bear had a strong jaw and sure I rolled my eyes when the bites were at their worst,” he said.

Luckily for the intrepid researcher there were two other people present, his son Einar, and a reindeer herder going by the name of Rune Stokke.

Einar Segerström proceeded to wave a dry pine branch in order to distract the angry bear, while a second dart was administered to bring the unsavoury drama to a relatively satisfactory close.

A popular nursery rhyme among Swedish children entitled Björnen sover (The bear is sleeping) is often played out with one child as the sleeping bear while the others dance around. At the end of the song the bear wakes up and chases the others, with the first one captured taking the turn of the bear.

The rhyme succinctly captures the assembled popular wisdom in regard to the brown bear and its status in the Swedish flora and fauna – not dangerous, if you take care.

Statistics compiled by the Big 5 Predator Centre in Järvsö in central Sweden back up this old adage. The statistics, covering the period 1995-2007, show that only two people have been killed at the hands of the brown bear, with a total of 18 people attacked. Prior to the attacks (in 2004 and 2007), there had been no registered deaths since 1902.

The bear was a protected species in Sweden 1913-1942. Since 1981 the hunting of bears is regulated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) which allowed the culling of 243 animals in 2009, of a population estimated to be between 2,300 and 2,800.

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Swedish hunter attacked by bear

A Swede’s Saturday morning hunting expedition turned out a bit more exciting than expected.

Swedish hunter attacked by bear
The hunter was fine. The bear, not so much. Photo: Depositphotos
The hunter was attacked by a bear just outside of Klövsjö in the western Sweden province of Jämtland, Expressen reported. 
The hunter was able to shoot and kill the bear while under attack and escape unharmed. 
The incident was reported to local officials at 7.37am. 
“The bear was reportedly shot when it attacked a hunter. The hunter was unscathed. Police are on hand to investigate,” the local police district wrote on its website. 
The dead bear will be sent to the Swedish National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt) for examination. 
Under Swedish law it is legal to hunt bear between August and October and in recent years this has been actively encouraged to help control growing numbers of the creatures.
Hundreds of brown bears are shot in Sweden every autumn as part of the cull, but the practice has also been met with criticism. The Swedish Species Information Centre announced in 2015 that the brown bear is once again at risk of becoming extinct, after previously dropping off the centre's annual 'red' watchlist.
The centre reclassified the brown bear as an endangered species, citing hunting as the primary cause of the declining population.  
Bear attacks on humans are relatively rare in Sweden, compared to the US, where on average two people a year die as a result of an encounter with a bear. By contrast, there have only been two fatalities caused by bear attacks over the last century in Sweden.