Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

The polar bear lies dead on the shore of Sjuoyane island

The polar bear lies dead on the shore of Sjuoyane islandGUSTAV BUSCH ARNTSEN AFP GETTY IMAGES

A polar bear that bit a cruise ship worker on the head has been shot dead on the Svalbard archipelago.

"We do not know anything about the size of injury, but the man is taken aboard MS Bremen and is receiving treatment at the infirmary there, while waiting for the helicopter to arrive on site", Rune Danielsen, rescue leader from HRS told Aftenposten.

The incident occurred during a 10-day cruise on the MS Bremen, a ship that holds up to 155 passengers.

The injured cruise-ship guard who was bitten in the head is taken to hospital by helicopter
The injured cruise-ship guard who was bitten in the head is taken to hospital by helicopterKENT ROAR NYBØ/SVALBARDPOSTEN

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

Meanwhile fellow Twitter user Gareth Stringer commented: "Polar bear shot for being a Polar Bear".

Arctic tourism has risen sharply in the last few years and it is now the high season.

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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.

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear on Saturday attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago.

Spokeswoman Negar Etminan said: 'He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment'.

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises released a statement on Sunday morning following a weekend incident that left a polar bear dead in Spitsbergen. In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage.

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

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

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Critics online, including British comedian Ricky Gervais, blamed the attack on human intrusion into polar bear territories. The region is known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears. "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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