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Home* News and Stories → Clo­se encoun­ter with polar bear in Bol­terd­a­len

Clo­se encoun­ter with polar bear in Bol­terd­a­len

Yet again, a polar bear has been in the area near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. This time, it was not just tracks in the snow, but a very clo­se encoun­ter of a group of 4 dog sled­ges with gui­des and tou­rists in Bol­terd­a­len. The group was retur­ning from Scott Tur­ner­breen, a gla­cier that is a popu­lar desti­na­ti­on for (half) day trips by dog sledge, to the dogyard of Green Dog in Bol­terd­a­len clo­se to Advent­da­len. Sud­den­ly the bear was stan­ding on a ter­race next to the rou­te, much to ever­y­bo­dies sur­pri­se, pro­ba­b­ly inclu­ding the bear. The bear came and snif­fed on the dogs of the first sledge, while the tou­rists on the sledge – a woman and her 11 year old daugh­ter – were wat­ching. The gui­de, Mar­cel Star­in­sky from Slo­va­kia, rea­li­sed that he did not even have time to get is rif­le rea­dy. Ins­tead, he grab­bed a pie­ce of rope and gave the bear a slab on the nose. Then, the bear went a bit away, pas­sed the other sled­ges and dis­ap­peared in the dark­ness. The who­le event took pro­ba­b­ly less than a minu­te, as the gui­des told Sval­bard­pos­ten later.

The group then retur­ned to the dogyard and gui­des and tou­rists took their time tog­e­ther to digest this very unu­su­al expe­ri­ence. As far as known, ever­y­bo­dy had his or her ner­ves under con­trol during the event and accor­ding to Mar­cel Star­in­sky and his col­le­ague, Dani­el Stil­ling Ger­mer from Den­mark, the bear did not show any signs of aggres­si­on. It would be inte­res­t­ing to hear the sto­ry from the woman and her daug­her on the first sledge. They have cer­tain­ly got a sto­ry to tell now.

Polar night

Out on tour in dark­ness and snow.
It can be vir­tual­ly impos­si­ble to see what is going on near­by.

Later, the polar bear was again seen near the dogyard, but was then dri­ven away by the Sysselmannen’s heli­c­op­ter through Bol­terd­a­len and towards Reind­a­len.

It is hard to say if this bear had any­thing to do with the tracks that were recent­ly seen on Lon­gye­ar­breen. The­se tracks were fol­lo­wed by the Sys­sel­man­nen the west, up to Kapp Lai­la in Coles­buk­ta, whe­re­as the bear in the event nar­ra­ted here is assu­med to have come from Advent­da­len, from the east. This at least sug­gests that it is not one and the same ani­mal.



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last modification: 2020-01-16 · copyright: Rolf Stange