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Home* News and Stories → Female polar bear and cub shot at Austfjordneset: case goes to Tromsø

Female polar bear and cub shot at Austfjordneset: case goes to Tromsø

The sad shooting of a mother polar bear and her first year cub has been the matter of the last news posting on this website. A trapper wanted to scare the polar bear away with a rubber bullet, but by mistake he took a sharp cartridge and fired a lethal shot at the bear. The cub was later on the same day shot by the police, as it did not have a chance for survival on its own in the arctic wilderness.

Now the authorities in Longyearbyen have decided that the case will not be negotiated locally within the institution of the Sysselmannen, which would be the normal procedure. Instead, the case will be forwarded to the public prosecutor in Tromsø. It was said that this is because of the large public interest in the case. Additionally, the trappers are using a hut owned by the Sysselmannen. It may be that the Sysselmannen wants to prevent any criticism of being prejudiced at an early stage.

The hut at Austfjordneset in Wijdefjord was originally built privately as a trappers hut but has now been state property for a number of years. Out of the many huts owned by the Sysselmannen, this is the only one which is lent to private persons who want to live there for a year as trappers. The purpose is to keep the tradition alive. It is a condition that the trappers have to hunt actively, which does of course not include polar bears. These are strictly protected. Species that are hunted include mainly reindeer, polar fox, ptarmigan and seals.

Polar bear family at Nordenskiöldbreen (archive image from september 2012).

Spitsbergen: polar bear family

Source: Sysselmannen

last modification: 2016-08-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange