Science

Cruise Ship Employee Kills Polar Bear Following Attack

Cruise Ship Employee Kills Polar Bear Following Attack”

It was not clear who shot the bear.

The injured person was immediately provided with medical care and flown to a hospital with a rescue helicopter.

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

A photograph shows a polar bear lying lifeless on a beach; mouth slightly agape, a ring of blood on its neck.

A second guard fatally shot the polar bear after it attacked a guard assigned to protect tourists from the MS Bremen cruise ship on Svalbard's northernmost island, German cruise company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said, according to the BBC. "In an act of self-defense, unfortunately, it was necessary for the polar bear to be shot dead". "He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", Etminan said, adding that he was not in a life-threatening condition.

Arctic tourism, now in high season, has been on the rise in recent years.

"Polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance", the company says.

The company, which operates the MS Bremen, added that they regret the incident and are aware of "its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife".

The statement explains that in preparing to take a group of visitors ashore in Spitzbergen - a Norwegian archipelago - an advance group of polar guards are sent ashore without passengers. The Svalbard archipelago is a known habitat of polar bears. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately".

She said all cruise ships traveling in the northern region are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

Given that the current "population status" of polar bears is listed as "vulnerable" due to their decreasing number, it is perhaps not surprising that the company has come under intense fire for how the incident played out.

Scientists believe human activity and climate change have contributed to an increase in polar bear attacks, which are most likely to occur when the animals are very hungry. Some are saying it was a needless death of a vulnerable animal and that tourists shouldn't have been there in the first place.



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