A bear mother, who has previously visited the Storsjöbygden Golf Course in northern Sweden's Jämtland region, has returned this summer to the greens – and this time she brought along her two little cubs.
According to the course's administrative manager, Daniel Fälldin, they have spent the past few weeks playing in the bunkers and chewing on golf balls. Bears tend to be reserved and stay away from humans, so they have mainly visited at night. But during a recent competition they made an appearance.
“There were 150-200 of us at the outdoor restaurant and 300 metres away she came walking with her two kids over the ninth and first fairway, and then she disappeared into the woods,” Fälldin told public broadcaster SVT.
Spela golf på Norrlands bästa greener samtidigt som du spanar efter Björn eller varför inte Lodjur 🙂 Välkomna… https://t.co/MJZvEz0SUR
— Storsjöbygdens Golf (@sbgolfklubb) July 27, 2016
Around 2,700 brown bears live in Sweden, according to WWF. They are the country's largest predators, and an adult male can weigh up to 250 kilos.
Brown bears rarely go out of their way attack humans, but although they could be deadly if they did, Swedish golfers at Storsjöbygden seem to have taken the animal visitors in their stride.
“I don't think they will approach when we're out playing, so I don't think it's too dangerous,” Sune Olsson from the nearby town of Östersund told SVT.
“They walk off and are so shy so they probably won't come near us. But I would like to see them,” added Stockholmer Sirpa Tiderman.
As for Fälldin, he would also quite happily keep the club's new unofficial mascot around.
“She's very welcome to stay, as long as she doesn't do anything,” he told the broadcaster.
This is not the only close encounter with bears in Sweden in the past year. Last month a Swede filmed a bear mauling a baby elk to death (he did not seem particularly frightened either).
And in October, a hunter spoke to The Local about his surprise when he watched his dog chase a 120-kg beast up a tree.
But our favourite remains the story from May last year, when another Swede grabbed global headlines after he scared off a charging bear by roaring at it.