Polar bear killed after attacking man on island off northern Norway

31 July, 2018, 22:47 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

The attack took place after the MS Bremen cruise ship landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago, a region located between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway said on Twitter.

The statement mentions the remaining guards' attempts to remove the polar bear without force before they shot and subsequently killed the animal. He was flown out to Longyearbyen and is undergoing medical treatment.

Critics lashed out at the tourists for travelling to a region with polar bears and then kill the animals when they become unsafe. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises spokesperson Negar Etminan said he suffered head injuries but they were non-life threatening.

A Hapag-Lloyd spokesman said the bear had been shot by the man's colleague "in an act of self-defence".

The Associated Press reported the attack happened Saturday when the guard was leading tourists off a cruise ship on the Svalbard archipelago.

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", Etminan said, adding that the victim was not in a life-threatening condition.

The incident occurred during a 10-day cruise on the MS Bremen, a ship that holds up to 155 passengers.

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been traveling to these destinations for many years with an experienced crew", the statement concludes.

Tourist expeditions are required to employ bear guards for the safety of the passengers.

Usually "as soon as an animal approaches, the landing stops immediately", Krause added.

"Polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance", the company says. In Arctic regions, their numbers have declined - a development linked to the loss of sea ice. "This great predator has little respect for humans and risky situations can easily arise if people get too close", says the NPI, Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research in the Arctic.

Rising temperature have forced polar bears out of their natural icy habitats and closer to human settlements, reducing their fear of humans.

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