Exit, not pursued by a bear

If you go down to the woods today, you may get a big surprise... particularly if the woods are anywhere near Strenči in northern Latvia.

According to the local Ziemeļlatvija (Northern Latvia) newspaper, berry pickers going about their berry picking business in the environs of the town of Strenči (famous as Latvia's raft capital) have been startled by the appearance of a bear. One young girl was even described as extremely startled.

Ingūna Johansone, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, told Latvian Radio a girl and her friend went in search of mushrooms and berries in the forests near Strenči, each entering the forest on opposite sides of the road. After some minutes engaged in the non-hazardous pastime of removing blueberries from their stalks, one of the girls looked up to see a large bear about 20 meters away.

If we were in the realm of fairy tales, the bear would doubtless have spoken to her at this point, perhaps extending an invitation to visit his lonely forest den for porridge or relating how he was a prince transformed into Ursine form by a wicked witch.

Sadly, such an exchange was never to be. The girl, not unreasonably, was high-tailing it as fast as her little legs could carry her. The bear did not give pursuit, hence no brawny woodcutter was required to save the day. For more on how to react when confronted by Ursus Arctos and his ilk, read our earlier story.

Nor are bears the only things berry pickers and mushroomers might stumble across in the forest. Should you be lucky enough to discover the rotting carcass of a wild boar, state-owned forest management company Latvia's State Forests is offering a bounty for reports of its precise location.

A newly-published video shows this process in animated form with the none-too-fresh corpse reported to aid research into the prevalence of African Swine Fever among the wild boar population. The lucky discoverer of the less-lucky porker will be rewarded with 30 euros - reduced to the smaller sum of 23 euros and 10 cents after tax - and the satisfaction of having contributed to the advancement of veterinary science.

 

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