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Home* News and Stories → Polar bear dead during scientific anaesthetisation: case closed

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.

last modification: 2020-12-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange