Polar Bear Mauls Svalbard Tourist

Last-minute eclipse seekers had been warned

Officials warned tourists visiting for the solar eclipse that polar bears are a danger in Svalbard. (Wikimedia Commons)

Czech tourist Jakub Moravec was camping on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard for the solar eclipse when he was dragged from his tent and mauled by a polar bear. He was treated at a local hospital for superficial claw wounds to his back.

“It was going for my head. I used my hands to protect my head,” Jakub Moravec told the AP.

Moravec had been part of a group of six tourists on the remote island archipelago. They were camping north of Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s main town, which thousands of tourists have been visiting recently to view the solar eclipse. Lodging was sold out for years in advance of the event.

It’s certainly not the first time a tourist on Svalbard has been attacked by a polar bear. The animals live on the islands and have frequent interactions with people.

Tourists had been warned in advance about the dangers of the island, especially when camping out. “I think there’s been a tendency, even before the eclipse, that a lot of people come here and they don’t know where they’re going,” Aksel Bilicz, manager of Longyearbyen Hospital, told the AP. “Both the weather conditions and the bears can be very dangerous.”

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