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Home* News and Stories → Old ammu­ni­ti­on found in polar bears bodies

Old ammu­ni­ti­on found in polar bears bodies

An auto­psy reve­a­led shot­gun ammu­ni­ti­on in the fat tis­sue of the bodies of two polar bears. One, a fema­le with a cub, was shot in June 2016 in Aus­t­fj­ord­nes. Only two mon­ths later a Rus­si­an rese­ar­cher shot ano­t­her fema­le polar bear in For­lan­det.

Polar­be­ar with cub

Polarbear with cub

The shot was encap­su­la­ted in the fat and fle­sh of the bears in both ani­mals, which means it must have hit them well befo­re they were kil­led in 2016. Ammu­ni­ti­on was found in several pla­ces of the bodies. Knut Fos­sum, envi­ron­men­tal direc­tor for the Sys­sel­man­nen (Gover­nor of Spits­ber­gen), pre­su­mes that the shots were fired from a rela­tively short distance. Pro­bab­ly someo­ne wan­ted to sca­re away the polar bears with pel­lets, but hit them. Shot is unli­kely to hurt a polar bear serious­ly, but serious inju­ry may occur if, for examp­le, a joint or an eye is hit. Vete­ri­na­ri­ans refer to the case of a rein­de­er that was kil­led with an air­gun. Addi­tio­nal­ly, even smal­ler inju­ries may lead to pain and inflamma­ti­on.

Polar bears are strict­ly pro­tec­ted on Spits­ber­gen, inju­ring them or kil­ling them will be punis­hed. Shoo­ting at a bear with shot­guns to sca­re it away is both unsui­ta­ble and ille­gal.

How long the polar bears alrea­dy car­ri­ed the ammu­n­ii­on in their bodies and whe­ther they suf­fe­red from pain, is not cer­tain.

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: 2017-06-09 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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