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Daily Archives: 2. January 2020 − News & Stories


Shot polar bear was alrea­dy flown out in 2016

The polar bear that was shot on New Year’s Day at 4 a.m. tur­ned out to be an old acquain­tance. It was a seven year old male.

Dead polar bear, New Year's Day 2020

The polar bear that was shot on New Year’s Day 2020. Pho­to © Sys­sel­man­nen på Sval­bard.

As it tur­ned out, it was the same bear that was around Lon­gye­ar­by­en for several days in April 2016. Per­so­nal­ly, I had a litt­le mee­ting with this very bear in mid April back then as I step­ped out of a hut in Sas­sen­fjord and noti­ced this bear not far away at all. It had also noti­ced me and was alrea­dy on the run. Most likely, it was the same bear that was shot yes­ter­day. Back then, it was seen several times near various huts.

Polar bear, Diabasodden

Bet­ter days: the bear is run­ning away after a brief, harm­less encoun­ter in Sas­sen­fjord.
It was very likely the ani­mal that was shot on New Year’s Day 2020.

A few days later, mid-day on 22 April 2016, this bear was sud­den­ly seen near the shore in Advent­da­len, an area that is fre­quen­ted by lar­ge num­bers of snow-mobi­le tou­rists, ski­ers and dog sled­ges. Back then, the bear was aana­es­the­ti­sed and flown out to Kinn­vi­ka on Nord­aus­t­land, a good 200 km away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Polar bear, Adventdalen

The polar bear on 22 April 2016, slee­ping peace­ful­ly in Advent­da­len near Lon­gye­ar­by­en.
It is the same bear that was shot on New Year’s Day 2020.

So this bear show­ed up again just after Christ­mas 2019, after three and a half years, near and even wit­hin Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Several attempts to sca­re it away with heli­co­p­ters and other means fai­led in the end, and the Sys­sel­man­nen deci­ded to kill this bear. This hap­pen­ed in Hanas­kog­da­len, about seven kilo­me­ters north of Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Aggres­si­ve beha­viour of this bear towards humans is, as of now, not publi­cal­ly known.

Polar bear, Adventdalen

In April 2016, the bear was ana­es­the­ti­sed and flown out.

Also this time it was con­si­de­red to ana­es­the­ti­se the bear and fly it out then. Accord­ing to offi­cial state­ments, the lack of experts in Lon­gye­ar­by­en due to the Christ­mas holi­days was the main rea­son why this did not hap­pen.

It is not sur­pri­sing that the kil­ling of the bear is now met with a lot of cri­ti­cism and a con­tro­ver­si­al, part­ly hea­ted, deba­te in social media.

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