Polar bear shot dead after wounding cruise ship worker

Polar bear shot dead after wounding cruise ship worker

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a ship Saturday on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

The attack occurred on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, which is between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

"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?"

He had been sent ashore from a cruise ship, MS Bremen, as part of a four-man advance team making sure a beach on the lesser Sjuoyane islands was safe for tourists to visit.

An estimated 60% of it is covered with ice, and its 3,000 polar bears are said to outnumber the human population.

The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition. "Customers need to start asking themselves if they feel good about a native bear being shot dead to enable their selfish intrusion into this lovely creature's home", wrote one upset poster.

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Tourism in the area has increased in recent years and is at its highest in the summer months.

Spokeswoman Negar Etminan said: 'He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment'.

The bear was shot by another employee of the ship, the MS Brennan, "in an act of self-defense", a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises told The Associated Press.

According to Hapag Lloyd Cruises, all of its cruise ships traveling in the region are obliged to have polar bear guards aboard.

Reaction to the death of this polar bear has been swift. "Morons", British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted. "Landings are possible only in a few places". "Horribly, horribly wrong", one Twitter user wrote. A promotional film (see above) highlights wildlife, including polar bears. The ship had landed on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, an area known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

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