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Polar bear shot after attack on cruise ship guard



  A polar bear after the shooting in Svalbard

image copyright
Reuters

Caption

Cruise company Hapag-Lloyd said the bear had been shot dead in "self-defense"

A polar bear was shot dead after attacking a cruise ship on the Norwegian Spitsbergen archipelago inside the Arctic Circle.

The guard did not suffer life-threatening head injuries and should be in a stable condition.

He was commissioned to protect tourists who had landed on the northernmost island of Svalbard from MS Bremen, which was operated by Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten.

The German shipping company said a second guard shot the bear "in self-defense"

The injured man was taken to the hospital in the town of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen.

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Spitsbergen is a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic Circle, between Norway and the North Pole.

An estimated 60% of it is covered in ice, and the 3,000 polar bear population is said to exceed the number of people.

All Ships in The area is required to use bear guards to protect ct passengers on sightseeing tours.

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An estimated 3,000 polar bears enjoy Svalbard's icy climes

"There are very strict rules here, as the islands are visited by many polar bears in the summer, so we all have to be vigilant when we are ashore," wrote a guide in a post on Hapag-Lloyd's website [1

9659007] Critics on the Internet, including British comedian Ricky Gervais, blamed the attack on people's entry into polar bears.

"This story is despicable," wrote Tweeter @ nicell70

"To kill a dangerous wild animal in its natural habitat invaded by ravenous, exploitative humans."

The behavior of the bears has been that Arctic warming means that they spend more time on land due to the shrinking sea ice and are forced to hunt for greater distances.

The Associated Press reports that 18 cruise ships will land at Longyearbyen, Svalbard's largest settlement, this week.


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