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Subject: Norwegian hikers asked to collect bear droppings

Written By: Philip Eno on 09/22/15 at 6:06 am

Hikers in Norway have been asked to collect bear droppings while out and about, and hand them over for DNA analysis, it's reported.

Environmental officials are hoping that information found within the excrement will help them to learn more about Norway's bear population, the Altaposten news website reports. Last year, 136 brown bears were recorded by using the DNA testing method, according to Rovdata, which monitors their numbers. It wants as many people as possible to get involved in collecting droppings in order to cover more of the country, and get a more accurate result. For those keen to help out, there's a handy brochure with photos of what to look for in each pile.

"We encourage anyone who is outdoors this autumn to pick up bear droppings and hair and deliver them to the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate in the area," says Rovdata head Jonas Kindberg. But there is a method to poo-picking, in order to avoid contaminating the samples with human DNA. "Avoid touching the droppings - turn a plastic bag inside out to pick them up," he says. Once collected, they are best kept in a frozen state until they can be delivered.

Brown bears once flourished in Norway but rampant hunting in the early 20th Century destroyed their numbers, according to State of the Environment Norway. Most are now found along Norway's eastern border with Sweden, Finland and Russia.

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