Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Polar bear killed after attacking man on island off northern Norway

Polar bear killed after attacking man on island off northern Norway

A cruise line is experiencing intense scrutiny and backlash after their visit to the Arctic Circle resulted in the tragic death of a polar bear.

The attack happened when tourists landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago, between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

The guard, a German national, suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition after being airlifted to the hospital in the town of Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen island. His identity was not released. "One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself".

An unidentified man was attacked and hurt by a polar bear on Norway's Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, newspaper Aftenposten reported Saturday. "He is out of danger, with no threat to life", Hapag-Lloyd Crusises posted.

He explained that usually, if a wild bear is seen, guards "shoot into the air" to scare the animal away.

The company has been widely criticised on social media, with accusations that the cruise line company was irresponsible for killing the animal in the name of tourism.

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The animal attacked the guard after the boat docked at the island, with the two men reaching land before the tourists.

"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.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has worked comprehensively and co-operatively with the Norwegian authorities to reconstruct and clarify the incident on the ground and will continue to do so.

Upsetting pictures of the bear's dead body have been widely circulated online.

This is not the first time people are attacked by polar bears on Svalbard.

Given that the current "population status" of polar bears is listed as "vulnerable" due to their decreasing number, it is perhaps not surprising that the company has come under intense fire for how the incident played out. "Horribly, horribly wrong", one Twitter user wrote.

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