A polar bear was shot after it attacked a German cruise line worker on an Arctic archipelago in Norway over the weekend.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Northern Norway tweeted Saturday a polar bear guard was injured after the MS Bremen cruise ship landed on the tip of the Svalbard archipelago.
The German-based cruise line had four polar bear guards — which are required to accompany tourists in these remote northern regions — when one was attacked. Another employee eventually pulled out a gun.
“The condition of the injured should be stable,” the rescue centre explained. “The polar bear was shot and killed.”
There are perhaps 3,000 polar bears on Svalbard.
En person er skadet av isbjørn på Sjuøyane, nord for Svalbard. Hendelsen skjedde i forbindelse med at turister gikk i land på en av øyene fra et cruisefartøy. Tilstanden til den skadde skal være stabil. Isbjørnen ble skutt og drept. Redningshelikopter er sendt fra Longyearbyen.
— HRS Nord-Norge (@HRSNordNorge) July 28, 2018
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also offered an explanation.
“One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself,” the company said. “As the attempts of the other guards to evict the animal, unfortunately, were not successful, there had to be intervention for reasons of self-defense and to protect the life of the attacked person.”
The unnamed guard suffered head injuries but is expected to survive. He was airlifted by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island.
“We very much regret this incident,” the company added. “Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife.”
The result of the encounter is disturbing.
It wasn’t good enough for some.
“Let’s get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close”. Morons. https://t.co/FEPt0sYOtF
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 29, 2018
This #polarbear home was invaded from tourists from the Cruise Ship MS Bremen. He defended himself, in his home, mildly injuring a “polar bear guard”. He was then shot dead. Here’s a thought. Why not look at the bears from afar and leave them alone. RT to Leave the Bears alone pic.twitter.com/8NkBT2JSt5
— Daniel Schneider (@BiologistDan) July 29, 2018
Polar bear killed for acting like a wild animal: https://t.co/LEzZuIQ4vY
— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) July 28, 2018
Tourism…again proving itself to be harmful to wildlife https://t.co/1ebeLpx7x7
— Prof Adam Hart (@AdamHartScience) July 29, 2018
Main photo Gustav Busch Arnsten/Governor of Svalbard