Friday, 3 Jul 2020

On the trail of brown bears in Sweden

I’m standing on a drenched and steaming hillside. Behind me are moss-covered boulders; in front, a steep drop to swampy marshland. My legs are aching and my clothes are soaked. 

Below, our team is gathered around the muddy banks, listening for a radio signal amid mosquito swarms. One of our bears, Tando, is missing, presumed dead. Was he killed by another bear? A moose? Or is this a grizzly murder by an unscrupulous hunter?

Andrea Friede, our chief scientist, is waving a large antenna with slow sweeping gestures. Her other hand holds the receiver to her ear, listening for the beeping pulse of the missing bear’s transponder. Andrea’s telemetry confirms what we’re all thinking: whatever remains of Tando is in that bog.

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