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Daily Archives: 27. December 2019 − News & Stories


Polar bear in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Spits­ber­gen is polar bear coun­try, even more so in recent years as the spe­ci­es has seen a remar­kab­le reco­very sin­ce full pro­tec­tion in 1973 after years of inten­se hun­ting. In recent years, it has beco­me pret­ty nor­mal again to see bears on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen, also clo­se to the sett­le­ments. All of them had polar bears in their vicini­ty or even in the sett­le­ment are­as in 2019.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en has now had a Christ­mas polar bear in town on Thurs­day morning. The bear was seen at about half 7 in cen­tral Lon­gye­ar­by­en. It was wal­king in the pede­stri­an area near shops, restau­rants and dwel­ling houses.

Polar bear, central Longyearbyen

Polar bear in cen­tral Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Thurs­day morning near 06.30.
Pho­to © Marie Lørup Stens­høj.

The Sys­sel­man­nen (poli­ce) was soon on site and used a heli­coter to push the bear out of the sett­le­ment to the south, up Lon­gyear­breen (Lon­gye­ar gla­cier), through Farda­len and into Cole­s­da­len to be as cer­tain as pos­si­ble that the­re is no more immedia­te dan­ger.

The inci­dent shows that it is important to take the risk of mee­ting polar bears serious­ly. This is true any­whe­re and at any time in Sval­bard, but espe­cial­ly during the dark sea­son and in the ear­ly morning hours, when the­re is litt­le traf­fic that would be likely to see a bear near town befo­re you hap­pen to meet it.

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