Cruise ship passenger attacked by polar bear on Norway's Arctic Svalbard

Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

The animal was killed after attacking a cruise ship guard on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, which lies within the Artic Circle, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway.

A polar bear was shot dead after it attacked a guard leading tourists off a cruise ship near the North Pole.

After the attack, the second guard was forced to kill the bear in an act of "self-defense" according to a Hapag Lloyd spokesperson.

The guard, a German national, suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition after being airlifted to the hospital in the town of Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen island. He was flown out to Longyearbyen and is undergoing medical treatment.

In recent years, the area has become a popular destination for arctic tourism, especially during the summer months.

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"There are very strict rules here as the islands are visited by many polar bears in the summer, so we all need to be vigilant when we are ashore", a post by a guide on the company's website stated.

And despite the fact that the polar bear injured the guard, Twitter is furious that a threatened species was killed. If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales.

The company, which operates the MS Bremen, added that they regret the incident and are aware of "its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife".

The death of the bear at the hands of another cruise ship employee drew condemnation on social media, with some calling it "abhorrent" and others questioning killing the polar bear for "acting like a wild animal". In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage. One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself.

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