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Home* News and Stories → Polar bear shot while clim­bing through a win­dow into a hut

Polar bear shot while clim­bing through a win­dow into a hut

On March 24, a polar bear was shot while it tried to enter a hut through the win­dow. The hut was used by a cou­p­le from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, who tried to sca­re the bear away with noi­se and by thro­wing items at it. When this tur­ned out to be unsuc­cess­ful, the bear was shot at short distance with a revol­ver.

The inci­dence hap­pen­ed in Hyt­tevi­ka, an old trapper’s hut on the west coast north of Horn­sund. The cou­p­le went the­re from Lon­gye­ar­by­en by snow mobi­le for the wee­kend. Both are con­si­de­red local­ly very expe­ri­en­ced out­door per­sons.

The case is rou­ti­nely inves­ti­ga­ted by the local poli­ce (Sys­sel­man­nen). Polar bears are com­ple­te­ly pro­tec­ted in Spits­ber­gen and may only be shot in self defence. The aut­ho­ri­ties have alrea­dy made known that the cir­cum­s­tan­ces seem to indi­ca­te a case of legal self defence.

The case recei­ved some cri­ti­cism during the fol­lowing deba­te regar­ding the poten­ti­al use of pep­per spray, which is often used for examp­le in North Ame­ri­ca to sol­ve simi­lar con­flicts without loss of human or ani­mal life. In Spits­ber­gen, howe­ver, the local aut­ho­ri­ties have offi­cial­ly decla­red that they do not sup­port the use of pep­per spray for self defence against polar bears. The owner of this web­site and cur­rent aut­hor means that pep­per­spray is cer­tain­ly not sui­ta­ble for stop­ping a bear that it vigo­rous­ly attacking in open ter­rain, but may well be used suc­cess­ful­ly from the rela­ti­ve safe­ty of a hut or even a tent to save the lives of bears and humans ali­ke. A bear thus sca­red away is unli­kely to go near a hut again.

This was the first case of a polar bear being shot sin­ce the let­hal attack in Tem­pel­fjord in August 2011.

The area of Hyt­tevi­ka from a safe alti­tu­de, one day after the bear had been shot.

Polar bear shot - West coast of Spitsbergen, the area of Hyttevika.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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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