New cruel bear trap found in Swedish woods

Another attempt to kill bears by fooling them into eating a blood-soaked mattress, thus causing them to starve to death slowly due to constipation, has been uncovered in the north of Sweden.

New cruel bear trap found in Swedish woods

“It is so terribly cruel, only a sick person would do such a thing,” said the man who discovered the trap while out walking his dog.

After the local paper Norbottens kuriren had published pictures of the home made trap last week, the dog owner knew exactly what it was he had found when he stumbled upon the trap in the woods on Friday.

This time the blood-soaked bedding was found in the forests near Pello about 10 kilometres from the previous find.

According to local police there is a clear connection between the two discoveries.

“It was a plastic bag with bloodied bits of foam rubber, just like one of the two we examined last week,” Andreas Hedlund of the local police told Norrbottenskuriren.

Just like last time the perpetrator has used a four wheel quad bike to get to the location and there are many indications that it is the same vehicle.

“At this moment we don’t have a suspect, although there is a lot of speculation,” said Hedlund to the paper.

Police have classified the case as attempted aggravated criminal hunting and aggravated animal cruelty.

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Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer

Several Swedish regions have increased the number of bears that can be killed during this year's hunting season.

Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer
A hunter prepares to go out on the first day of the bear-hunting season in Sweden. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

Jämtland is doubling the amount of bears that are allowed to be killed in the region this year to 200. 

The decision comes after the regional bear population has grown to 1,044 at the last count. Jämtland is hoping that the expanded license will reduce the number of bears to around 650.  

We have assessed that the heavy expansion of licensed hunting is necessary, partly to reduce the bear population to the regional target within five years,” said Emma Andersson, who is in charge of managing game and hunting for the region.

Sweden allows some licensed hunting of bears, partly because of their interference with reindeer herding, one of the main economic sectors in northern Sweden for Indigenous Sámi people.

There are around 1,000 reindeer herding companies in Sweden, and an estimated 2,500 people are dependent on incomes from reindeer herding, according to the website of the Sámi parliament.

The presence of predators in northern Sweden has become a complicated political issue as they pose a great threat to the sustainable farming practices of the Sámi. The Sámi parliament estimates that one quarter of reindeer are killed by predators each year, significantly higher than the ten percent limit set by parliament. 

At the same time, the hunting of bears and other predators like wolves must be strictly overseen by the region due to their protected status. 

The increased allowance for hunting bears in Jämtland is directed specifically towards areas where there is a clear link that it could harm the reindeer herding industry, according to the regional board.

Similar decisions have been taken in Västerbotten, where 85 bears can be killed this year compared to 25 in the previous year, and in Västernorrland where they are allowing 75, almost doubling the previous year’s figure.

While no decision has been taken yet in Norrbotten, the hunting association is demanding similar measures, as 20 bears were shot last year during the hunt and another 60 through emergency measures to protect reindeer.

The licensed hunting period takes place between August 21st and October 15th in Norrbotten every year, with some exceptions.

A count by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency found that there were around 2,900 bears in total in Sweden as of 2017.