Spotting a herd of wild elk running beside a snowy road in Sweden is a wildlife sighting most of us would probably brag about. But add a hunting brown bear to the picture and you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. 


While travelling in northern Sweden recently, Hussain Jan spotted a small group of elk at the edge of the woods near the roadside, and he reached for his mobile phone to film the animals. It was only when Jan got closer that he realised one of the elk wasn’t an elk at all – it was a brown bear ... and it was hunting!

"Getting a picture of an elk is something very nice for me. Then I got closer and saw that it was a bear, and I zoomed in on it. I thought, s#!t, it's a bear. I'm seeing a bear chasing two elks. Right now I'm still in a state of shock," Jan told the regional ÖP newspaper.

The short clip was uploaded to Facebook and Instagram, where it quickly went viral. Fortunately for the elk, the approaching vehicle frightened the bear, forcing it to abandon the chase, and turning Jan into an inadvertent elk saviour – a title he wears proudly (we’re not so sure the bear feels the same way, Jan).

Sweden is home to at least 1,500 brown bears that roam the rolling mountains and vast forests in the northern part of the country. They are rarely seen, so researchers in the area rely on evidence like scat and the odd sighting from elk hunters to better understand the population.

While it’s not unheard of for a brown bear to chase down elk or deer, they are usually less ambitious in their culinary pursuits and will eat everything from fruit and insects to bulbs and carrion.

Header image: Richard

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