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Home* News and Stories → Dead­ly Polar bear attack II

Dead­ly Polar bear attack II

The fatal attack of a polar bear that led to the death of a 17-year old on Fri­day (August 05) took place in the ear­ly morning hours while the group was still asleep, thus com­ing as a total sur­pri­se. The very aggres­si­ve bear atta­cked a tent (several ones?), kil­ling one per­son and inju­ring ano­t­her four, two out of the­se serious­ly in the face.

The bear was a male weig­hing 250 kg.

Next to shock and the sad­ness about the loss of a per­son, the ques­ti­on of how the dead­ly attack could hap­pen remains to be ans­we­red. We need to wait until fur­ther details will be publis­hed befo­re final con­clu­si­ons can be drawn regar­ding the situa­ti­on and its impli­ca­ti­ons for risk assess­ment and safe­ty mea­su­res.

Gene­ral­ly spea­king, when cam­ping in polar bear coun­try it is important:

  • put up a trip wire (alarm fence) around the camp with suf­fi­ci­ent distance from the tents. A cor­rect set­up is important to make the sys­tem work well. You should, howe­ver, bear in mind that this tech­ni­cal mea­su­re is known to have fai­led befo­re and bears have been seen just step­ping over or kree­ping under the wire.
  • it is bet­ter to have a polar dog (sledge dog) who will warn you in case a polar bear is approa­ching the camp during the night.
  • or to keep care­ful watch night watch, if the group size allows this.
  • avoid cam­ping at expo­sed sites such as near the shore or on small islands.
  • food, espe­cial­ly fresh items and meat, should not be stored insi­de tents.
  • even if all safe­ty mea­su­res are care­ful­ly and cor­rect­ly app­lied, a small risk will always remain as always in life. Cam­ping in polar bear coun­try will never be com­ple­te­ly risk-free, just taking part in car traf­fic whe­re it is com­mon to accept a (small) remai­ning risk that can­not be con­trol­led by the indi­vi­du­al.

Cam­ping in polar bear coun­try. The risk of a poten­ti­al­ly dan­ge­rous polar bear visit can be mini­mi­zed, but never redu­ced to abso­lu­te zero.

Deadly Polar bear attack II - Camping in polar bear country

P.S. last offi­cial state­ments con­firm that the alarm mines did not explo­de when the polar bear ent­e­red the camp. So far, the rea­son for this is unknown.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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