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Cruise line worker kills polar bear sparking public outrage



Polar Bear Shot
search the coastline, Saturday, July 28, 2018, after a polar bear
attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists
off a cruise ship on the Svalbard archipelago archipelago between
mainland Norway and the North Pole.

Busch Arntsen governor of svalbard

  • A polar
    was shot and killed on Saturday by guards from the
    German cruise ship MS Bremen. 
  • According to the ship’s owner, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the
    bear was shot after it attacked a “polar bear guard” who was
    looking to see if the area was safe for tourists to
  • Many on social media were not pleased that an
    endangered animal
    was killed in its natural

German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is facing some heavy
backlash from the public after a guard employed by the company
shot and killed a polar bear on an island in the Arctic Ocean.

The incident occurred on Saturday after the MS Bremen stopped off
the island of Spitsbergen, in the Norwegian archipelago of
Svalbard. A group of “polar bear guards” from the ship went on
land ahead of the tourists to make sure none of the animals were
in the area. One of the guards was “unexpectedly attacked” by a
polar bear, which was shot dead by another guard in an act of
self-defense, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said in a statement on Monday.

The company claims that the animal was only shot once it became
apparent the attacked guard’s life was in danger and that the
animal would not leave the scene.

The Joint Rescue Coordination for northern Norway confirmed
in a tweet
on Saturday that the animal had been shot and

“We very much regret this incident,” the cruise line said.
“Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when
traveling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all
nature and wildlife.” 

According to the Hamburg-based firm, its guard suffered
head injuries from his encounter with the animal and was
airlifted out to receive medical attention. His condition is
stable and he “remains responsive.” 

In a phone call with
the New York Times,
Moritz Krause, spokesman for Hapag-Llyod
Cruises, said that usually, if a wild bear is seen, guards
“shoot into the air” to scare the animal away. But he said the
injured guard did not see the polar bear before it

There are apparently
3,500 polar bears
found in the Svalbard area, which forms the
Arctic Ocean cluster the Spitsbergen island resides in. With a
worldwide population of no more than 31,000, polar bears are
among the most endangered
species in the world.
 Public attention has recently
increased to the plight polar bears face as their living
conditions have
changed drastically
 due to climate change.

Even so, the dangers of encountering polar bears are well
known to those traveling in the area. 

According to the Governor of
Svalbard’s website
, “Due to the polar bear danger in
Svalbard, any person traveling outside the settlements shall be
equipped with appropriate means of frightening and chasing off
polar bears. We also recommend carrying firearms outside the

On the Norwegian Polar Institute website,
the Cruise Handbook for Svalbard states,
“Due to the risk of
meeting polar bears visitors travelling in Svalbard must always
have firearms and protection devices at hand, such as a big-game
rifle and ammunition for self-defence, flare gun or an emergency
signal flare pen for driving off polar bears and tripwire with
flares for camping.” 

Despite these warnings, some people expressed anger on social
media that a cruise ship company leading tourists on an
exploration of an animal’s natural habitat led to the death of an
animal that is among the world’s most endangered species. 



If the face of withering criticism appearing on public forums,
Hapag-Llyod Cruises closed its statement with an

“Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been traveling to these
destinations for many years with an experienced crew. The cruise
operator is respected in the destinations as a responsible
partner and the experts actively inform the guests about
the appropriate behavior required in these areas. We
are extremely sorry that this incident has happened.”

The company was
founded in 1891
and the MS Bremen cruise ship has been in
operation since

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