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Home* News and Stories → Polar bear died from circulatory collapse

Polar bear died from circulatory collapse

The female polar bear that was anaesthetised near Longyearbyen in late January and that died during helicopter transport is found to have died from circulatory collapse as a consequence of a combination of stress, shock and medication, according to the Sysselmannen.

Sysselmannen (police) and Norwegian Polar Institute experts had started to scare the polar bear away from Vestpynten near Longyearbyen by helicopter in the late afternoon of 30 January. The bear was moved across Adventfjord and – partly by using snow mobiles – into a side valley, where she was finally anaesthetised. A total of 2.5 hours passed from the beginning of the operation until she was put to sleep: a long time for an animal that is not made to run fast over longer distances. It is for good reason that nobody is generally allowed to follow a polar bear that has changed its behaviour so it might be at risk.

This seems to be exactly what happened in this case, considering a chase over 2.5 hours by helicopter and snow mobile (there is mention of a short rest which is included in that time span), although “polar bear expertise” was present in shape of an expert from the Norwegian Polar Institute. The procedure was obviously too much for the bear, who received further medication after the initial aenesthetisation and died in the helicopter during transport to Kinnvika on Nordaustland.

Eisbären (Edgeøya)

Polar bear family: mother (left, in front) and two second year cubs in good shape.
Mid August, Edgeøya.

The bear was a female with a very low weight of 62 kg. It is believed that she was a first year cub or a very small second year cub. In either case, she should still have been together with her mother.

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last modification: 2020-03-31 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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