A polar bear attacked and killed a man Friday on a camping site in Svalbard Islands, Norway. According to authorities on the island, witnesses then shot and killed the bear.
Johan Jacobus Kootte, a 38-year-old Dutch Man was in his tent when the bear attacked, Governor Soelvi Elvedah said. The Svalbardposten newspaper reported that Kootte was an employee of the Longyearbyen Camping site, where the attack took place. Professionals pronounced Kootte dead upon arrival at the hospital in Longyearbyen.
Friday’s attack occurred just before 4 a.m. Investigations are underway. Though there were no other injuries, six people went to the hospital after suffering shock from the incident, authorities said.
“This is also a strong reminder that we are in polar bear country and must take the precautions to secure ourselves,” Elvedah later stated. “Polar beers can be found all over Svalbard and be encountered anywhere throughout the year.”
Roughly around 20,000-25,000 polar bears live in the Arctic. Svalbard issues several warnings about the bears throughout the area, including the encouragement for tourists sleeping outside to carry firearms.
The polar bear was later discovered dead in a parking lot near the airport after being shot and killed by witnesses, the governor’s office stated. There are speculations that the bear may have been one of two roaming in the area within the week.
According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, this incident makes Kootte the fifth person killed by a polar bear in Svalbard since 1971. The most recent victim killed was a British teenager in 2011.
In 2015, a polar bear attacked a Czech vacationer, dragging him out of his tent just north of Longyearbyen. The bear ripped at the man’s back before being scared away by gun shots. Authorities later found and killed the bear.
[H/T BBC News]