Cruise ship employee shoots, kills polar bear in “self-defence” in northern Norway

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.

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.

Gustav Busch Arntsen/Governor of Svalbard

It wasn’t good enough for some.

Main photo Gustav Busch Arnsten/Governor of Svalbard

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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