Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Polar bear shot dead after attacking cruise ship guard

Polar bear shot dead after attacking cruise ship guard

A polar bear was shot and killed this weekend after attacking a cruise ship guard who was helping tourists during an island expedition, Norwegian authorities have confirmed.

The German cruise company Hapag Lloyd said a second guard shot the polar bear in an "act of self-defence". Hapag-Lloyd is among those organizing Arctic expeditions.

That's what makes the shooting and killing of a polar bear in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, within the Arctic Circle, all the more infuriating.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises released a statement on Sunday morning following a weekend incident that left a polar bear dead in Spitsbergen.

The unidentified man suffered unspecified injuries to his head, but they were not life-threatening and he was in stable condition shortly after the attack.

A polar bear was killed after attacking a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on the Svalbard archipelago archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole on Saturday.

If you want to see a polar bear, you generally have to go looking for it.

Another ship employee shot the bear.

"He was attacked by a bear and bitten in the head", Ole Jakob Malmo, chief superintendent of Svalbard police, said. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately".

MS Bremen is a 111-meter-long cruise ship that can take up to 155 passengers. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

A photograph shows a polar bear lying lifeless on a beach; mouth slightly agape, a ring of blood on its neck.

With a population of 22,000 to 31,000, polar bears are considered "vulnerable" animals on the extinction risk chart.

"Polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance", the company says.

Officials in Svalbard frequently issue warnings about the dangers posed by polar bears. "This great predator has little respect for humans and unsafe situations can easily arise if people get too close", says the NPI, Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research in the Arctic.

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