Polar bear shot dead after wounding cruise ship worker

31 July, 2018, 22:44 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

The German victim, who worked as a guard, is awake and in a stable condition with moderate injuries.

The German Hapag Lloyd Cruises company, which operates the MS Bremen, told The Associated Press that two polar bear guards from their ship went on the island and one of them "was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head".

The company said excursions of this nature required staff to check areas before landing and to protect those onboard against polar bear attacks. "[The victim] was flown out, was responsive", Etminan told the AP.

Spitsbergen is the largest island of the archipelago which is located in the Arctic Ocean, about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. Sustainability is the priority in Svalbard and almost two thirds of the islands are protected areas, presumably because of climate change. It is known for its barren landscapes and wild animals. A promotional film (see above) highlights wildlife, including polar bears.

An estimated 3000 polar bears live on Svalbard, a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps between Norway and the North Pole. "The polar bear distribution is strongly related to the distribution of sea ice", it added.

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In 1995, Nina Jeanette Olaussen, 22, from Oslo was attacked and killed by polar bear on Platafjellet, just west of Longyearbyen, and just five months later Helmer Kristian Kristensen from Tromso was exposed to the same fate, Aftenposten wrote.

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

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.

Four years earlier, 17-year-old Horatio Chapple from Britain was killed and four others injured when a polar bear attacked them at Von Postbreen, about 40 kilometers from Longyearbyen.

Yet while the attacks may seem vicious, evidence suggests that the species' survival is now at risk as key food sources-including seal blubber- are disappearing as the Arctic ice continues to melt.

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