Arctic cruise ship guard shoots polar bear dead for injuring colleague

Arctic cruise ship guard shoots polar bear dead for injuring colleague

The condition for the injured person, who was transported back to Longyearbyen by helicopter, is reported to be stable. The polar bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said.

The man who was attacked did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

A cruise line employee was injured in a polar bear attack Saturday on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, according to local authorities.

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

All ships in the area are required to have guards to protect passengers from polar bears as they sightsee. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

Polar bear
The polar bear was shot dead after the attack prompting anger on social media

He had been assigned to protect tourists arriving Svalbard's northernmost island from the MS Bremen, operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage.

Critics lashed out at the tourists for travelling to a region with polar bears and then kill the animals when they become unsafe. "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. "Morons", British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted.

The cruise liner operating "MS Bremen" is Hapag Lloyd Cruises. "On the contrary", the statement explains, "polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance". "This great predator has little respect for humans and unsafe situations can easily arise if people get too close", says the NPI, Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research in the Arctic. The region is known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

Four years earlier, 17-year-old Horatio Chapple from Britain was killed and four others injured when a polar bear attacked them at Von Postbreen, about 40 kilometers from Longyearbyen.

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