Chocolate bear better than no bear at all

  • 2007-04-02
  • Joel Alas
The residents of Ruhnu will be given a 40-kilogram chocolate bear to compensate for the departure of an ice-travelling brown bear which spent a summer on the tiny Estonian island.

Latvia confectionary maker Laima has crafted the huge chocolate bear and plans to airlift it to the island in the coming week, Eesti Paevaleht newspaper reports.

It won't be the first time a Latvian bear has surprised Ruhnu residents. Last April a 150 kilogram brown bear floated across the Gulf of Riga on a detached piece of ice. It arrived on Ruhnu, a 12-sq km island that is home to just 60 residents.

It stayed on the island all summer, evading sharp-shooters who were dispatched to tranquilize and remove the bear. But it left as unexpectedly as it arrived, disappearing at the end of summer, leaving locals to presume it had swum home to Latvia.

Locals are unsure what to do with the chocolate bear. Aare Sunter, head of the rural municipality, said they would like to preserve the bear in a glass case.

"If it cannot be preserved very long the chocolate will have to be shared out among the people of Ruhnu after some time," Sunter said.