Polar Bear Killed After Attacking Woman at Campsite

by Lauren Boisvert

A French tourist was camping in the remote Arctic Svalbard Islands in Norway when a polar bear attacked and injured her at her campsite. She did not have life-threatening injuries, accordig to authorities. But, they later euthanized the bear.

The woman was camping at Sveasletta with 25 other people about 500 miles from the Norwegian mainland. The nearest settlement, Longyearbyen, was on the other side of a fjord. Authorities did not identify the woman. They flew her to a hospital in Longyearbyen by helicopter after the attack.

“The French woman suffered injuries to an arm. Shots were fired at the polar bear, which was scared away from the area,” said chief superintendent Stein Olav Bredli. According to Bredli, once the bear was located it was clear that it had been “badly injured.” The animal was then but down.

According to ABC News, at least 5 people have been killed by bears since the 70s. The last attack was in 2020 when a polar bear attacked and killed a Dutchman. Authorities constantly warn people about polar bear safety, and those camping in the archipelago must carry firearms. The outlet reports that the issue with the bears divides Svalbard. Some residents believe they need a 24-hour polar bear watch around the town. Still others believe all bears who get close to humans should be killed.

There are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears living in the Arctic, even with their habitats receding a little more every day. In 10 years, from 2009 to 2019, Svalbard killed 14 polar bears. So far, they only find and kill bears that attack. But, what’s the long-term solution for those who want to camp in the Arctic? Polar bears are already a vulnerable species, so how much more damage should we do to their population?

Polar Bear Gets Tongue Stuck in Tin Can, Goes to Humans for Help

In late July, a starving polar bear in northern Russia got its tongue stuck in a can of condensed milk, and approached a nearby resident for help. Sometimes bears are utterly surprising, despite being dangerous wild animals. But, just as a reminder, don’t try this at home, even if a bear wanders up to you itself. Incidentally, the resident tried to yank the can off the bear’s snout, but its tongue was lodged too far inside.

Residents called a team of veterinarians and they flew out to the remote village to help the bear. They managed to sedate it in one shot, then carefully removed the can and treated cuts on the bear’s tongue. According to Svetlana Radionova, Russian environmental watchdog chief, the bear was only about 2 miles from the Dikson airport.

The vets monitored the bear for a few days, then released her back into her natural habitat with about 110 pounds of fish to keep her fat and happy. Most likely, the bear found the can in a garbage dump while scavenging for food. Due to climate change and receding habitats, polar bears turn to garbage when they have nothing else to eat.