Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

31 July, 2018, 22:45 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

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 guard was assigned to protect tourists who had landed on Svalbard's northernmost island from the MS Bremen, which is operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "He is out of danger, with no threat to life", Hapag-Lloyd Crusises posted.

Last month, a 31-year-old Canadian man was killed while protecting his children from a polar bear in a popular Canadian fishing and hunting spot. 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 injured person was immediately provided with medical care and flown to a hospital with a rescue helicopter.

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As the cruise line explained via a statement on their Facebook page, "A polar bear guard - an expert employed by the cruise line - was attacked on land by a polar bear".

"Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close".

The German cruise company said a second guard shot the bear "in self-defence".

"He was attacked by a bear and bitten in the head", Ole Jakob Malmo, chief superintendent of Svalbard police, said.

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He explained that usually, if a wild bear is seen, guards "shoot into the air" to scare the animal away. The probe will include an examination of the polar bear. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened". In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change. "When there's only 25,000 polar bears left on the planet, every one matters".

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been traveling to these destinations for many years with an experienced crew", the statement concludes. If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales.

"They had no right to get themselves into a situation where they needed to defend themselves", said one Twitter user.

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