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BEAR

Brave dad chases bear away from curious kids

A man from far northern Sweden saved three young girls from a fully grown bear in which was "eyeing them up" in their back garden from just metres away.

Brave dad chases bear away from curious kids

The man was standing in his kitchen in his house in Aareavaara when his daughter came running in, screaming that there was a bear in the garden, wrote daily Aftonbladet.

“I saw in her eyes that she was completely serious. We ran out and I saw my other two daughters and their friend. The closest girl was just three metres from the bear,” said Bengt-Göran Niska, 43, to the paper.

The man claims that the fully grown brown bear was standing by a playhouse and had its eyes on the girls.

“I went towards it and yelled from the bottom of my lungs. The bear stood up and looked at me. I yelled again and the bear started walking on its back legs,” Niska told Aftonbladet.

The man continued to yell at the bear until it turned and moved into the woods.

Amppa Högman, who lives in the house next door, saw the bear as it walked away and took the picture.

“It’s so frightening for us, but a little exciting too. I didn’t see when Bengt-Göran scared the bear away, but when I saw the bear walking past our house I grabbed the camera and took the picture,” she told The Local.

“Now everyone is on the look-out. We’re checking over our shoulders and peeping around the corners. This is something I’ve never heard of in our village.

“Luckily the girls are alright, though they’re still a little shocked,” she said.

The girls, aged six, eight, and nine, stood completely still throughout the ordeal, and allegedly did not even realize it was a real bear until afterwards, initially believing it was a human wearing a bear costume, wrote the paper.

“They became truly scared when they understood that it was an actual bear. The two older girls really got the chills but the younger one still doesn’t understand the severity of the situation,” Niska told the paper.

The family lives on the edge of the woods, and all the family members have since had trouble sleeping. Niska himself acknowledges that he’s lucky to be alive.

“I don’t know if I did the right thing. I just thought about the girls, went on pure instinct and was full of adrenaline. In hindsight, it could have gone really bad,” he told the paper.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here.

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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.