A polar bear has been shot dead after it attacked a cruise ship guard on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, within the Arctic Circle. The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition.
He was assigned to protect tourists who had landed on Svalbard’s northernmost island from the MS Bremen, which is operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The German cruise company said a second guard shot the bear “in self-defense”.
Svalbard is a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps that lies between Norway and the North Pole. An estimated 60% of it is covered with ice, and its 3,000 polar bears are said to outnumber the human population.
The death of the bear at the hands of another cruise ship employee drew condemnation on social media, with some calling it “abhorrent” and others questioning killing the polar bear for “acting like a wild animal.”
“Let’s get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close”. Morons. https://t.co/FEPt0sYOtF
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 29, 2018
Moritz Krause, a spokesman for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the German operator of the cruise expedition, said on Sunday by phone that “we completely regret what happened” to the bear but that the cruise ship employee had acted in self-defense.
Polar bear killed for acting like a wild animal: https://t.co/LEzZuIQ4vY
— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) July 28, 2018