Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Polar bear shot after attack on cruise ship guard

Polar bear shot after attack on cruise ship guard

Hapag-Lloyd assured the landing was not for polar bear observation as guests are only allowed to view the wild animals on board and from a safe distance.

Three years ago a Czech man who visited the archipelago to watch a solar eclipse was attacked in his tent by a polar bear.

The bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said after the incident on Saturday.

It said the man was taken by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island and that he was in a stable condition.

The ship had landed on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, an area known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

"Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close".

However, animal lovers including comedian Ricky Gervais have reacted furiously on social media after the German cruise company which organised the trip justified the decision to shoot the bear dead by describing it as "an act of self-defence".

According to the cruise company, all ships travelling in the northern region are required to employ polar bear guards to protect passengers on sightseeing tours. The first guard apparently did not see the bear, which then attacked him and injured him "on his head". "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately".

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been traveling to these destinations for many years with an experienced crew", the statement concludes. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened". "One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself". "Usually there are also a few polar bears remaining in the area over the summer". "The polar bear distribution is strongly related to the distribution of sea ice", it added. "This great predator has little respect for humans and risky situations can easily arise if people get too close", says the NPI, Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research in the Arctic.

Like this: