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Dead bear found in pond in southern Finland

Police do not suspect any crime in the death, which came shortly before hunting season.

Authorities have not yet determined the bear's cause of death. Police do not suspect any crime, though. Image: Ville Toijonen / Yle

A dead bear has been found in a pond in Mäntyharju, near Mikkeli in southeast Finland.

A summer resident in a rowboat noticed something unusual near the shore of Ylä-Ryötty pond, according to Matti Pilssari, big game liaison officer and operations manager of the Mäntyharju-Hirvensalmi game management association.

"We went to the site yesterday evening to observe this very rare event. Bears are not often found dead," Pilssari told Yle on Wednesday.

According to Pilssari, this is because bears in the wild usually retreat into hiding before they die.

"In this case, it was not a very big bear. One could assume that it was hit by someone in traffic and ended up in the water. The bear was not very far from the highway, just over a kilometre," the game warden said.

Authorities have not yet determined the cause of death. The police, however, do not suspect any crime.

According to the police, the bear carcass will be sent to a Finnish Food Authority lab in Oulu for analysis.

"A cause of death will then be determined. Smaller animals, such as hares, are often sent there for examination, to find out if they died of rabbit plague, for instance," Pilssari said.

Limited hunting begins next week

Last spring the Natural Resources Centre (Luke) estimated that there were 2,250-2,400 bears in Finland, down by 16 percent from 2021.

Bear hunting season begins next week, on 20 August.

The Finnish Wildlife Agency has granted nearly 200 exemption permits to shoot bears outside the reindeer husbandry area this autumn. However complaints have been filed regarding 111 of these permits. As administrative court proceedings in such cases typically take months or even years, most of this autumn's quota will likely remain unused, the Finnish Hunters’ Association said on Monday.