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Daily Archives: 1. December 2020 − News & Stories


Polar bear dead during sci­en­ti­fic ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on: case clo­sed

A polar bear died in Sep­tem­ber after ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on by sci­en­tists of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te. The ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on was done as part of an annu­al rou­ti­ne pro­gram­me to gather data from a lar­ger num­ber of polar bears.

Polar bear skull

Life is dan­ge­rous, also for polar bears. Even drow­ning due to sci­en­ti­fic ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on seems to be a rea­listic risk. But we don’t know what hap­pend to this polar bear.

The case was inves­ti­ga­ted by the Sys­sel­man­nen, as always when a pro­tec­ted ani­mal in Spits­ber­gen comes to harm. The result shows that the polar bear most likely died from drow­ning: it appears likely that the head of the bear ended up in a water-fil­led ter­rain depres­si­on befo­re the sci­en­tists arri­ved on sce­ne. A let­hal side effect of the ana­es­the­tic that was used (Mede­to­mi­din) can, howe­ver, not be exclu­ded, or a com­bi­na­ti­on of both fac­tors, accord­ing to an offi­cial press release.

The Sys­sel­man­nen could not iden­ti­fy legal­ly rele­vant beha­viour. The case has thus been clo­sed.

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