Norwegian Brown Bear Photo: Per Harald Olsen
In most countries these days, we're familiar with some form of poo control for pets, most often plastic bags to collect the remains and toss it in the trash. Norway's Nature Surveillance is asking the public to take that a bit further: They're asking the public to pick up bear poo (yes, bears DO...in the woods!) and send it in to headquarters.
Seems that Norway's brown bear population has been shrinking; there are believed to be only about 140 left in Norway. In the mid-1800s there were at least 4-5000 bears. Only 6 litters were born last year. and scientists want to at least double that.
Norway is attempting to encourage the species in areas where bear-human conflicts are less likely. That's a big change from the days before 1932, when a bounty was paid for each one killed.
But to encourage regrowth, more information is needed, and while NNS sends out scavengers to likely areas, they're appealing to hunters, hikers, berry-pickers, anyone, to pick up the poo, freeze it, and mail it in. Not in your bare (bear?) hands, please; plastic bags are required to avoid contaminating the bear DNA with yours.