Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Polar bear shot dead after attacking tour guide near North Pole

Polar bear shot dead after attacking tour guide near North Pole

Animal rights activists are furious, after a German cruise ship employee shot and killed a polar bear in an island on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard on Saturday.

"The man was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head", Hapag Lloyd Cruises, who operates the ship, said in a statement to The Associated Press. He is out of danger, with no threat to life. To prepare for a shore leave, the polar bear guards go ashore in advance after sighting the landing site as a group and without passengers.

The guard sustained head injuries and was immediately airlifted to a nearby hospital where he remains in a responsive and stable condition.

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.

The long-running cruise company said they had travelled to the destination for many years and were "very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife".

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A polar bear has been shot dead after it attacked a cruise ship guard on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, within the Arctic Circle.

"Maybe cruise sightseeing tours shouldn't take place then polar bear guards wouldn't be needed to protect gawking tourists & polar bears would be left in peace & not shot dead merely to satisfy a photo op?" suggested genealogist Jane Roberts on Twitter. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

He was accompanying a tourist expedition from the MS Bremen of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises on Saturday. In Arctic regions, their numbers have declined - a development linked to the loss of sea ice. In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change. If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales.

One user suggested: "If you need a 4-person polar bear guard team perhaps you should not be visiting here".

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