Polar bear shot dead in Svalbard after attacking tourist

A file photo of a polar bear. The woman attacked is currently at the hospital in Longyearbyen and is not seriously wounded. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

A French woman is hospitalised after attacked by a polar bear at Svalbard Monday morning.

“The Governor was alarmed just before 08.30 this morning, and went to the scene with helicopter,” informs Stein Olav Bredli, Chief Superintendent with the Governor’s office.

The woman, who was wounded in the arm by the attacking polar bear, was one of 25 people staying at a tent camp in Nordfjorden on the northern shores of Isfjorden. She is currently at the hospital in Longyearbyen and is not seriously wounded.

Isfjorden, Svalbard. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Bredli said shots were launched and the polar bear was severely wounded. The police officers arriving to the area later decided to kill the bear.

Two years ago, a Dutch man was killed as the bear attacked him while sleeping in the tent at the campsite next to Longyearbyen airport.

In 2018, a cruise ship guide was wounded, but survived, a polar bear attack at Sjuøyene north of Nordaustlandet on Svalbard. The bear was shot dead by fellow crew members.

Officers with the Governor of Svalbard (Sysselmannen) always carries a shotgun, not against criminals, but for polar bear protection. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

In 2011, a 17-years old British student was killed by a polar bear at a camp-site near the Von Post glacier, about 40 km from Longyearbyen.

In the period from 1971 to 1995, four other people were killed by polar bears at Svalbard. Two of the fatal attacks happened in 1995.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: One week after rabies warning, fox attacks person in Arctic Canada, CBC News

Norway: Could drones help prevent polar bear attacks on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard?, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Moose attacks mushers’ team in Alaska, injuring 4 dogs, CBC News

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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