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Daily Archives: 9. February 2020 − News & Stories


Polar bear weig­hed only 62 kg

The polar bear that died in late Janu­ary during trans­por­ta­ti­on in a heli­c­op­ter weig­hed only 62 kg as first results of the post mor­tem reve­a­led. This means that the bear must eit­her have been very small or extre­me­ly thin. Even a small, sub-adult fema­le should have more than 100 kg. Even a second year cub should weigh signi­fi­cant­ly more than 60 kg, and it should still be with its mother then. A first year cub would not be able to sur­vi­ve on its own, wit­hout the mother.

Also chan­ces for sur­vi­val for a (sub)adult polar bear with a weight of only 62 kg would have been doubtful at best.

This is curr­ent­ly, howe­ver, spe­cu­la­ti­on. Fur­ther details of the post mor­tem, which will hop­eful­ly enable spe­cia­lists to draw con­clu­si­ons regar­ding the cau­se of death, will only be available in seve­ral weeks.

Young polar bear

Young polar bear tog­e­ther with its mother. The litt­le bear was about 20 months old at the time the pic­tu­re was taken and its weight was cer­tain­ly well abo­ve 60 kg.

The­re is also new infor­ma­ti­on regar­ding the polar bear visits to Lon­gye­ar­by­en in late Decem­ber: DNA ana­ly­sis of various samples reve­a­led that it were at least two indi­vi­du­als who came clo­se to and into the sett­le­ment then.

100 years Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty

The Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty was signed exact­ly 100 years ago, on 09 Febru­ary 1920, in Ver­sailles. The con­tract secu­red suver­eni­ty over the Spits­ber­gen islands but includes seve­ral limi­ta­ti­ons. Click here to read more about the trea­ty its­elf on the page dedi­ca­ted to the trea­ty within this web­site.

Spitzbergenvertrag: Wedel Jarlsberg, Paris 1920

Fre­d­rik Wedel Jarls­berg, Nor­we­gi­an ambassa­dor in Paris,
signs the trea­ty on 09 Febru­ary 1920 in Ver­sailles.

The Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty was nego­tia­ted over seve­ral months in Ver­sailles in 1919. Fre­d­rik Wedel Jarls­berg was lea­ding the nego­tia­ti­ons on behalf of Nor­way, but others inclu­ding Fri­dt­jof Nan­sen had been part of the poli­ti­cal work that had paved the way to the trea­ty over years.

Today, the trea­ty is often refer­red to as the Sval­bard Trea­ty, but the ori­gi­nal trea­ty text does not include the word “Sval­bard” at all.

Over­lap­ping pri­va­te ter­ri­to­ri­al by a num­ber of mining com­pa­nies from various count­ries had to be sor­ted befo­re the trea­ty could enter force. This hap­pen­ed final­ly on 14 August 1925, when the “Sval­bard law” (Sval­bard­l­oven) came into force in Nor­way, tur­ning the trea­ty into natio­nal law.

The trea­ty is still in force. The­re are some dis­pu­tes regar­ding the use of mari­ne resour­ces (fishing, oil, gas, other mine­ral resour­ces) out­side the 12 mile zone, but within the 200 mile zone around Sval­bard. The con­cept of the­se zones was defi­ned much later and they were not part of the trea­ty, which hence lea­ves room for dif­fe­rent inter­pre­ta­ti­ons, depen­ding on whom you ask. Nor­way claims that the prin­ci­ple of non­dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on (equal rights for ever­y­bo­dy regard­less of natio­na­li­ty) is valid only within the 12-mile zone, but claims exclu­si­ve rights in the 200-mile eco­no­mic­al zone (out­side the 12-mile zone). Other count­ries do not agree, name­ly Lat­via which was up to now the last coun­try that ente­red the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty on 13 June 2016 (a few months after North Korea) and Rus­sia. Russia’s minis­try of for­eign affairs has just recent­ly again released a press note clai­ming to be unhap­py about rest­ric­tions of Rus­si­an acti­vi­ties in Spits­ber­gen and expects Nor­way to accept bila­te­ral talks, some­thing that Nor­way has never accept­ed in the past.

Spitzbergenvertrag: Mitgliedsländer

Signa­to­ry count­ries in the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty.

Today, 100 years after the trea­ty was signed in Paris on 09 Febru­ary 1920, a num­ber of events and lec­tures are dedi­ca­ted to the trea­ty in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Nor­way and other count­ries.

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