Fwd = Giant Trap Set for Monster in Lake
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Original Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 00:41:34 +0200 (CEST)
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Giant Trap Set for Monster in Lake
Updated 11:46 AM ET August 2, 2000
By Alister Doyle
OSLO (Reuters) - An international team of monster hunters unveiled a
giant trap Wednesday for catching a fabled serpent, reputed to be a
cousin of Scotland's Loch Ness monster, in a lake in south Norway.
"This is the first serpent trap of its kind in the world," Jan
Sundberg, a Swede leading a team of 12 experts, told Reuters. The team
comprises seven Swedes, three Norwegians, a Canadian and a Belgian.
The 18-foot-long tube-shaped trap, comprising a metal frame with nylon
netting, will be lowered into Seljord lake in south Norway. It will
contain live whitefish for bait to catch an elusive beast known to
locals as "Selma."
"The trap is adapted from a fish trap for eels. If anything up to
about six meters long swims in one end, the opening closes and it
won't be able to get out," said Sundberg, a veteran of several
inconclusive high-tech scans of the murky lake.
Over the next two weeks, the team will dangle the cage in the lake,
about 110 miles (170 km) southwest of Oslo, at depths of between 30
and 100 meters near where sightings of the monster have been reported.
Two biologists at the University of Oslo were on standby to fly down
by helicopter and take tests if the trap worked. "We'll take a DNA
sample, document the serpent and then release it into the lake," he
said. "We will be very careful not to hurt it."
Experts on land would also try to track any unexplained movements
underwater with hydraphones and sonars to help experts on a floating
platform move the trap quickly to a promising spot.
Sundberg said the team recorded mysterious whale-like noises during a
visit in 1999. "We'd be disappointed if we don't get some kind of
result this time...the only evidence scientists would accept is a dead
or a live serpent," he said.
The beast was first spotted around 1750, and most accounts agree it
looks like a serpent with the head of an elk or a horse. Seljord is a
town of about 1,500 people at the head of the picturesque lake, about
15 km (nine miles) long.
In recent years, Seljord has tried to imitate Loch Ness in attracting
tourists. In 1986, the local council changed Seljord's coat of arms to
portray a sea serpent.
� 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
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