Sweden: No half measures

The inaugural Sweden bear expedition finished on a high.

Half of us paddled over to an island to map another bear den; the other half looked for and found more bear scats. We all met on a local mountaintop beauty spot for lunch and a cake to round things off in the field.

Back at base, we went through all the datasheets with Andrea to make sure the data we have gathered are exactly how she needs them. And talking about data, here are some basic stats of the expedition. Over the week of the expedition, we

  • visited 28 bear den sites and mapped 24
  • found 10 scats at 15 bear cluster sites
  • recovered a bear skeleton from a bog for further analysis
  • recovered a valuable transmitter
  • covered over 2,000 km of the study site
  • had two bear encounters and several with moose, capercailie and other interesting wildlife
  • increased Andrea’s den database by between a third and a half (depending on how the rest of the year goes)
  • in one short week gathered scats worth six weeks

Andrea called our contribution “invaluable” and we can all be justifyably proud of perhaps having doubled her den database by the end of the year and collected scats galore for her. This is what citizen science should be like!

No wonder then that our last dinner together was joyous. Gifts were exchanged, kind words spoken and as the sun bathed our expedition base in golden sunlight, we played a Scandinavian lawn game with Andrea making up the rules as we merrily went along.

Thank you to the team, thank you to Andrea for letting us get a glimpse of her life as a bear scientist, thank you to Elfie for keeping us fed so well, and thank you to the bears and the Swedish wilderness for letting us roam in their space.

Andrea has asked us to return and we shall be back.



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