Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship guard

Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship guard

Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship guard

The German cruise company said a second guard shot the bear "in self-defence". "Customers need to start asking themselves if they feel good about a native bear being shot dead to enable their selfish intrusion into this handsome creature's home", wrote one upset poster.

The worker, a designated polar bear guard, suffered a head injury as he led tourists off the ship and was unresponsive when he was airlifted for medical treatment, Sky News reported. If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales.

The Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway tweeted that the attack occurred when the tourists from the "MS Bremen" landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago.

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

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", Etminan said to The Associated Press.

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

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife.

Ms Etminan added that all cruise ships operating in the area are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

Tourist expeditions are required to employ bear guards for the safety of the passengers.

Svalbard is a remote, ice-covered wilderness which lies between Norway and the North Pole, where its 3,000 polar bears are thought to outnumber the human population. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately".

Polar bears have become poster animals for climate change, with scientists identifying human-driven global warming as the biggest threat to the bears' continued existence.

Critics were quick to take to social media and blamed the attack on human intrusion on polar bear territories. But many outraged members of the public are saying that the cruise line should never have created the situation which resulted in the animal's death in the first place.

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