Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

A polar bear which Norwegian authorities said attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole is seen after being shot dead by another employee

A polar bear which Norwegian authorities said attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole is seen after being shot dead by another employee

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

An unidentified man was attacked and hurt by a polar bear on Norway's Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, newspaper Aftenposten reported Saturday.

In a Facebook post the German-based Hapag-Llyod Cruises said one of their polar bear guards suffered head injuries after being attacked on land in Spitsbergen by the animal.

"We do not know anything about the size of injury, but the man is taken aboard MS Bremen and is receiving treatment at the infirmary there, while waiting for the helicopter to arrive on site", Rune Danielsen, rescue leader from HRS told Aftenposten. His identity was not released.

The polar bear was then shot dead "in an act of self-defence" by the second guard, Negar Etminan said. "Customers need to start asking themselves if they feel good about a native bear being shot dead to enable their selfish intrusion into this handsome creature's home", wrote one upset poster. On Saturday morning, however, the injured guard did not see the polar bear, he said.

Tourism in the area has increased dramatically in the last number of years and is now in high season.

Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island
Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when traveling in environmentally sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife", the company statement said.

The shore excursion is not, the company says, about polar bear observation.

An estimated 3000 polar bears live on Svalbard, a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps between Norway and the North Pole.

Usually "as soon as an animal approaches, the landing stops immediately", Krause added.

Polar bear behaviour has changed in recent years as a result of increasing human encroachment on their territory, and a British student was killed by one during a field trip in 2011.

News of the shooting was criticized on social media by observers who blamed the cruise line for intruding on the polar bear's habitat.




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