Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship employee in Norway

Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship employee in Norway

The Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway said the attack occurred when tourists from the German-flagged MS Bremen landed on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago.

The man was injured after the polar bear attacked him whilst he was leading a group of tourists to a remote Arctic archipelago on an apparent sightseeing tour, Norwegian authorities have confirmed.

Animal activists are heavily criticising a German cruise line after an employee shot and killed a polar bear that attacked a colleague. He was flown out to Longyearbyen and is undergoing medical treatment. In recent years, the area has become a popular destination for arctic tourism, especially during the summer months.

The incident has sparked significant criticism on social media, including a critique by British actor/satirist Ricky Gervais, who tweeted, "Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close".

Etminan did not identify the victim but said he was a "polar bear guard" traveling aboard the MS Bremen because all cruise ships traveling in that region are required to have polar bear guards on board.

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The guard who was attacked, he said, had suffered head injuries but was now responsive and in "stable condition".

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", Etminan said to The Associated Press. In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change.

In its Facebook statement, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises notes that landings on Spitsbergen are only possible in a few places and these are not done for polar bear observation. In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage.

"They had no right to get themselves into a situation where they needed to defend themselves", said one Twitter user. "Almost every year a polar bear is killed in Svalbard after confrontations with humans or because of safety perspective in the settlements".

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