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Daily Archives: 29. July 2014 − News & Stories

Polar bear freed from nylon noo­se

A polar bear being obser­ved some weeks ago in Nort­hern Spits­ber­gen with a thin nylon rope around its neck was now loca­ted and freed from the noo­se by mem­bers of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te. The case illus­tra­tes the dan­ger for arc­tic wild­life occur­ring by the incre­a­sing amount of plastic was­te floa­ting in the sea and being was­hed ashore.

It was in the end of June as the polar bear was seen and pho­to­gra­phed for the first time in Woodfjord by mem­bers of a boat trip on the »Arc­ti­ca II«. The sailors infor­med the Sys­sel­mann, who star­ted to look out for the bear and asked for report in case of anyo­ne see­ing it. Pres­um­a­b­ly the thin rope around the animal’s neck ori­gi­nal­ly was part of a trawl net. It was tied to a solid noo­se and the loo­se end hang about one meter to the ground. For­tu­n­a­te­ly the noo­se was not too tight so that the bear was not direct­ly hurt or han­di­cap­ped in breat­hing. The Sysselmann´s experts saw the grea­test dan­ger for the polar bear in taking much food in a short peri­od of time, when for examp­le fin­ding a cada­ver or hun­ting a seal. In this case it could gain weight quick­ly and the noo­se would get tigh­ter and strang­le the bear’s neck and cut into the skin.

The chan­ce to find a sin­gle indi­vi­du­al in such a lar­ge, deser­ted area usual­ly is very low. So it was a lucky inci­dent as on 22nd of July the Sys­sel­mann got the report of the bear being seen clo­se to the trap­per sta­ti­on on Aus­t­fj­ord­nes in inner Wij­defjord. On the same day mem­bers of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te arri­ved the­re with a heli­co­p­ter. They could find the bear and anesthe­ti­ze it. After remo­ving the noo­se and exami­ning the bear, the rese­ar­chers made sure that the ani­mal woke up and star­ted moving again.

The polar bear was lucky being found and being a polar bear. Such an exten­si­ve ope­ra­ti­on would not have been star­ted for a rein­de­er or for a sin­gle bird. Espe­cial­ly some sorts of birds face ano­t­her thread from the plastic was­te: They swal­low small plastic pie­ces which will not be digested and can lead to the animal’s death. A recent sur­vey among nort­hern ful­mars on Spits­ber­gen has shown that 90% of the birds have small plastic pie­ces in their sto­machs.

Stran­ded plastic was­te can turn into a trap for wild ani­mals


(On the plastic pol­lu­ti­on pro­blem see also »The Oce­an Cleanup: solu­ti­on for the glo­bal plastic pol­lu­ti­on pro­blem« Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news from June 2014)

Source: Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te


Good luck remai­ned with us (do we have to pay for it?). A day like in para­di­se. Or, bet­ter: a day in para­di­se. One of Spitsbergen’s most impres­si­ve sce­ne­ries under a bright arc­tic sun. A long, lovely hike in the midd­le of Horn­sund. Horn­sund­tind and Bau­ta­en ahead, the migh­ty gla­ciers of Bre­pol­len to the left, Gnå­lod­den and the rest of it to the right. You could put the view on paper and sell it without doing anything to it.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

The big gla­ciers in Hornsund’s deepest cor­ners were arc­tic show time. Big time! The­re was so much ice near the gla­cier, you could hard­ly see the water any­mo­re. The gla­cier was in good mood and added even more to it. The icing on the cake was the polar bear, sit­ting on an ice­berg some­ti­mes like on a thro­ne and some­ti­mes han­ging the­re like on a sofa, lying on his back, yaw­ning, stret­ching his arms and legs. A bit too far away, other­wi­se he would for sure have been the cover of the next pho­to book or calen­dar, some­thing like that.


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