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Home* News and Stories → Polar bear shot at Lon­gye­ar­by­en cam­ping in August: pro­cee­dings clo­sed

Polar bear shot at Lon­gye­ar­by­en cam­ping in August: pro­cee­dings clo­sed

The out­co­me did not come as a sur­pri­se: the case against a man who shot a polar bear on Lon­gye­ar­by­en cam­ping in the ear­ly morning of 28 August, when a man died after being atta­cked by the bear, is now clo­sed, no char­ge will be brought up. It was, evi­dent­ly, a case of defence of ano­t­her per­son. The bear had ent­e­red the camp­si­te area in the morning of 28 August, when tho­se few per­sons who were the­re were all slee­ping, so initi­al­ly nobo­dy noti­ced the bear. The polar bear then atta­cked Johan “Job” J. Koot­te from the Nether­lands while he was slee­ping in his tent. Ano­t­her per­son who had been slee­ping ano­t­her tent had access to a wea­pon and fired a shot against the bear, who then moved away.

The bear was later found dead on the par­king place next to the near­by air­port.

Longyearbyen camping

The site of the tra­gic events of 28 August 2020: Lon­gye­ar­by­en cam­ping (archi­ve image).

When a polar bear is kil­led, a case is always and auto­ma­ti­cal­ly ope­ned becau­se the spe­ci­es is strict­ly pro­tec­ted in Sval­bard. Now the Sys­sel­man­nen infor­med that the case is offi­cial­ly clo­sed: it was a case of defence of a third per­son – the shot was fired in an attempt to save someone’s life – and thus legal.

Tra­gi­cal­ly, the attempt to save Kootte’s life was not suc­cess­ful. He died from his inju­ries befo­re he reached the hos­pi­tal.

Ano­t­her case is still open. This con­cerns the ques­ti­on wether Lon­gye­ar­by­en cam­ping, whe­re Koot­te was employ­ed during the sea­son, should have taken other secu­ri­ty mea­su­res, with respect to the Nor­we­gi­an labour pro­tec­tion law (arbei­ds­mil­jøl­ov).

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last modification: 2020-12-29 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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