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Home* News and Stories → Two paddlers and an bear

Two paddlers and an bear

Two young Norwegians had set out to circumnavigate the whole archipelago of Spitsbergen, including Nordaustland, in their sea kayaks, but their journey came to a very sudden end on the north coast of Nordaustland, when they were taken by surprise by an aggressive polar bear in their tent during the night. The trip wire, which had been set up correctly, was not triggered when the bear entered the camp and dragged one of the two young men out of his sleeping bag and away from the camp. The second paddler managed to shoot the bear soon. Both men were soon brought to hospital with the governor’s helicopter. The injuries of the one who was pulled out of the tent by the bear were not serious and he recovered quickly, as expected.

It is still unknown why the trip wire had failed when the bear walked through. Two pins were pulled out of the mechanism, as they are supposed to, but the alarm mines did not explode. A few days earlier, some wind had been enough to trigger the alarm.

Two paddlers and an bear

During summer, when the sea ice is retreating from the coast, access to seals, their main prey, is more difficult for polar bears. If they remain on shore, they will try to find carrion, bird eggs or anything else that is digestable, which can make hungry bears dangerous also for man. In Spitsbergen, it is common (and required) to protect camps with trip wire during the night. Alternatively, dogs can serve the same purpose.

Source: Svalbardposten and Sysselmannen

last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: images and compilation: Elke Lindner