Norwegian driver hits bear after trying to avoid elk

A bull elk Norway is home to around 100,000 elk

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A Norwegian driver who tried to avoid crashing into an elk hit a bear instead, a wildlife official said.

The accident took place on Wednesday night on a rural road 225km (140 miles) north of Oslo, in Hedmark county.

While the driver escaped uninjured, a search party was tracking the bear after finding traces of blood, local wildlife official Svein Erik Bjorke told the Reuters news agency.

Norway is home to around 100,000 elk and 150 brown bears.

The driver spotted the elk - known in north America as a moose - around midnight near Hanestad village and tried to steer around the animal, when a bear suddenly ran in front of his car.

"The driver had lost a bit of speed as she tried to avoid the moose before hitting the bear," Mr Bjorke told Reuters.

"We are currently tracking the bear and we have found traces of blood indicating internal injuries."

The driver's car sustained some damage in the accident. The elk managed to flee the scene unharmed.

Correction 20 August 2012: We initially mistakenly used the term moose, which is the North American term for the animal known in Britain as an elk.

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