Trekker Killed in Polar Bear Attack

Four injured in Norwegian islands

Aug 5, 2011
Outside Magazine

A polar bear attacked a group of British travelers on the Norwiegan island of Spitsbergen last week, leaving one person dead and four with "moderate to serious" injuries. The group, comprised mostly of teenagers and organized by the British Schools Exploring Society, encountered the bear at the base of the Von Postbreen glacier in the Svalbard island group, about 400 miles north of Norway. Another member of the group later shot the bear dead. Svalbard's polar bears, which normally hunt seals, have been forced farther and farther inland in recent years as sea ice has disappeared. "As it was early in the morning I can only suppose the bear attacked them because it was looking for food," said Sandra Swresser, a restaurant manager in the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. Polar bear sightings are relatively common on Svalbard, and many locals carry guns to protect themselves. At the University Centre in Svalbard, the only institute of higher education on the islands, students doing field research can borrow rifles and ammunition from the school.

Read more at The Guardian

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