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Home* News and Stories → Polar bear back in Longyearbyen

Polar bear back in Longyearbyen

The polar bear that had been in Longyearbyen on Thursday morning was back back early Saturday. On Thursday, it was pushed out of the settlement by the Sysselmannen with the helicopter to the south and towards Fardalen and Colesdalen.

Also this time, the Sysselmann was soon alerted and out with available forces. Again, the helicopter was used to scare it away to the south. This time, the plan was to push it as far south as Van Mijenfjord, 40 km south of Longyearbyen as the crow flies.

Polar bear, central Longyearbyen

Polar bear in Longyearbyen (Thursday morning). Photo © Sysselmannen på Svalbard.

Also this distance, from Van Mijenfjord to Longyearbyen, is not much of an obstacle for a polar bear in case he (she?) decides to return. The Sysselmannn asks the public to remain alert, especially during late night and early morning hours (it is dark now 24 hours anyway, but there is little traffic at those times) and to stay inside in case a bear is seen in the area.

It was considered to anaesthetize the bear and to fly it away to an island more remote within Svalbard such as Nordaustland, but according to an official statement, the capacities for such an operation are currently not available in Longyearbyen due to the Christmas holidays.

last modification: 2019-12-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange