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ATTACK

Honey-craving bear attacks beehives

There's more truth than one might think to bears' mythical fondness for honey. Beekeeper Lars Höglund, based outside Härnösand in northern Sweden, has had to learn this lesson the hard way.

Honey-craving bear attacks beehives

During the spring and summer months of 2011, more than 90 of his 800 beehives have been attacked, by one or two bears.

The attacks are the largest of their kind in Sweden, reported local newspaper Tidningen Ångermanland.

This isn’t the first time Lars has had an unwelcome visit from bears. His first experience with the animals was in 2007, when he was just starting up his beekeeping company.

“At that time, I had 50 beehives, and about 15 were destroyed,” explained Lars Höglund to Tidningen Ångermanland.

After these attacks he was granted permission to temporarily use an electrical fence to keep the animals at bay, and then moved his beehives to a new location. After a two-year hiatus, the bears have now returned, hungrier for honey than ever before.

According to the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen), the bears’ behaviour is unusual.

“Until this year, one could say that everything’s been normal. But the events that Lars has experienced this year have no equal in Sweden,” said Lars Wiklund, nature conservationist at the County Administrative Board.

Lars Höglund has applied for remuneration from the Board for 331,000 kronor ($52,250) for financial losses, as well as a 68,000 kronor grant for materials to avoid new bear attacks in future.

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HUNTING

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.