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Bear Cub Nuzzles Exchange Student

May 18, 2004

JUNEAU (AP) _ A Swedish exchange student’s encounter with Alaska wildlife was a bit closer than he’d expected. Max Bergman was sunbathing on Starr Hill in Juneau on Saturday when he felt something fuzzy nuzzling and licking him.

``I was almost falling asleep,″ he said. ``At first I thought it was a dog. I tried to push it away.″

It turned out to be a bear cub. On all fours, it was about four feet tall, he said.

He wasn’t wearing using any fragrant lotion to attract it, he said. ``I was just lying there,″ he said.

Barbara Sheinberg, of Bergman’s host family in Juneau, said it looked like a 2-year-old cub.

Bergman said the confrontation ended with the bear bounding away. He said he heard that a bear would leave a person alone if he played dead, but his experience proved just the opposite.

``If I would not have moved, it might have taken a bite out of me,″ he said.

Bergman is a high school senior from Linkoping, Sweden, south of Stockholm. He told friends about the experience, and ``they thought it was cool,″ he said.

He said his bear story isn’t the most important thing he will take back to Sweden next month, but it should come in handy.

``The girls will like it,″ he said.

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