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Daily Archives: 1. September 2014 − News & Stories

Polar bear roa­ming near Lon­gye­ar­by­en

A polar bear has been obser­ved roa­ming around near Lon­gye­ar­by­en for more than a week. Sin­ce 21st August, the bear has been seen in Hior­th­hamn, on the north side of Advent­fjord, a few kilo­me­t­res away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, whe­re more than 2000 peo­p­le live.

The­re is a num­ber of weekend huts in Hior­th­hamn, and some of them have suf­fe­r­ed dama­ge by the polar bear, which is always loo­king for food, bes­i­des gene­ral­ly being a curious ani­mal any­way. It has sin­ce been seen in side val­leys (Mälard­a­len, Hanas­kog­da­len), and most recent­ly in Advent­da­len near Jans­sonhau­gen, whe­re it seems to have found a dead reinde­er, secu­ring food for some days. It is, howe­ver, not 100 per­cent cer­tain that it is real­ly one and the same polar bar.

The­re is signi­fi­cant traf­fic in all the­se are­as: tou­rists are on tour the­re, and so are stu­dents and locals in their free time. Addi­tio­nal­ly, it is reinde­er hun­ting sea­son.

Ever­y­bo­dy moving around on his own is remin­ded that poten­ti­al­ly aggres­si­ve polar bears have to be expec­ted any­whe­re and at any time out­side the popu­la­ted sett­le­ments. A sui­ta­ble, hea­vy calib­re wea­pon is neces­sa­ry for tours even clo­se to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Addi­tio­nal­ly, a deter­rent such as a signal pis­tol with spe­cial noi­se-making ammu­ni­ti­on to sca­re polar bears away does not only make a lot of sen­se, to sol­ve dan­ge­rous situa­tions wit­hout doing harm to a bear, but it is also legal­ly bin­ding now to have a deter­rent. Pep­per spray is, howe­ver, not recom­men­ded by the aut­ho­ri­ties in Spits­ber­gen, alt­hough it can make an important con­tri­bu­ti­on if used, for exam­p­le, from the rela­ti­ve safe­ty of a hut to get rid of a very curious or even aggres­si­ve bear wit­hout doing harm to it. It must, howe­ver, not be reli­ed on as the only means of “safe­ty”.

The polar bear near Lon­gye­ar­by­en has, so far, not been aggres­si­ve. Gene­ral­ly spea­king, polar bears are usual­ly not aggres­si­ve towards man, but the­re are excep­ti­ons to the role, such as a very hun­gry bear. Also in Pyra­mi­den, a Rus­si­an sett­le­ment lar­ge­ly deser­ted sin­ce 1998, polar bears have been seen seve­ral times during the sum­mer, also in cen­tral parts.

This polar bear has been roa­ming for more than a week near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Here at a weekend hut in Hior­th­hamn on the other side of the fjord.

Polar bear in Hiorthhamn, near Longyearbyen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten


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