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Home* News and Stories → Polar bears flown out from Lon­gye­ar­by­en area

Polar bears flown out from Lon­gye­ar­by­en area

Again, Lon­gye­ar­by­en had polar bear visi­tors, and not just once: a polar bear that had tried to break into several huts in Hior­th­hamn, on the north side of Advent­fjord just 2.5 km away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, was sca­red away by the poli­ce (Sys­sel­man­nen) with fla­re gun shots.

Shopping Lompensenter Longyearbyen

Polar bear inspec­ting a hut in Hior­th­hamn near Lon­gye­ar­by­en (archi­ve image).

Not much later, a fema­le bear and a cub came to the same area. In this case, the aut­ho­ri­ties deci­ded quick­ly to ana­es­the­ti­se the bears and to fly them away with a heli­co­p­ter. A simi­lar ope­ra­ti­on ear­lier this year had had a fatal out­co­me for the bear, an event that later attrac­ted sub­stan­ti­al cri­ti­cism in the public but also from rele­vant Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties. As a con­se­quence, the rou­ti­nes were impro­ved this time: Jon Aars, lea­ding polar bear sci­en­tist of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te (NP), was per­so­nal­ly pre­sent, tog­e­ther with a vet – a new pro­ce­du­re for the NP. A dif­fe­rent drug was used and the bears were given addi­tio­nal oxy­gen during the flight and an anti­do­te upon arri­val to give them an acce­le­ra­ted wake-up, a pro­cess that was also super­vi­sed this time, as Aars told Sval­bard­pos­ten.

As the two bears were known to be resi­dent in Isfjord, the­re were flown to the nor­thwest part of this fjord, rather than to a remo­ter area such as Nord­aus­t­land or Edgeøya, as is com­mon in such cases.

The bears were said to be well. The mother is 15 years old and rela­tively thin, some­thing that is not unusu­al con­si­de­ring her age and the sea­son. Nevertheless, she weig­hed several 100 kg. Most likely, they had recent­ly found some­thing to feed on. The cub weighs 49 kg and is said to be in good con­di­ti­on.

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last modification: 2020-08-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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