A scheme in northern Norway to reward people for collecting Norwegian Smokey’s stools has been a success, reports say.
“The most avid collector collected three samples, and got 3,000 kroner. However, the analysis showed they were excrement from the same bear,” Øyvind Skogstad at Nordland county governor’s office told NRK.
Nordland and Finnmark counties established the scheme to help track the movement of bears in the area. 15,000 kroner total has been paid out so far.
“DNA provides useful and precise answers when charting bears’ movements and proliferation. Among other things, we now know that the male bear observed in Saltdal [municipality] this summer is the same as the one that previously stayed in Rana [municipality],” said Mr Skogstad.
According to the samples, only two females have been detected in the area so far, one in the autumn of 2010 and 2011 and the other in the sping and summer of 2012. Both bears were placed in Saltdal.
For readers interested in participating in the scheme, instructions from Nordland county governor’s office are below.
- Bear excrement should be collected in clean plastic bags (unused large plastic bags can also be used).
- Take a good handful, the whole pat if possible.
- Samples should be stored frozen.
- Samples must not be contaminated by biological materials from other individuals or species. Be very careful, therefore, when collecting and storing samples.
- Do not touch the sample with your fingers. Use a stick, knife or similar implement to get the sample into the bag.
- Do not use the same sampling equipment to take samples from various stools. There must be only one in each bag.
- Hair samples from bears can be collected if the roots are included with these. Hair must be placed in a paper envelope, sealed, and stored at room temperature. Hair must not be placed in plastic bags.
- Deliver samples to the specified Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (SNO) executives on a regular basis (information can be found here – external link in Norwegian).
- Mark the sample with the following details (use notepaper put in a separate plastic bag together with the first one and tie a knot in it, or write on the envelope with hair samples):
- Date of collection.
- Location name and accurate position (using a GPS or map).
- Contact person with address, phone number, and e-mail address.
The scheme is set to continue following its major success.
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