Polar bear killed after hurting tourist in Norway
Oslo, Aug 09: A polar bear attacked a woman at a campsite on Monday in Norway's remote Arctic Svalbard Islands, injuring a French tourist, the regional governor said.
Authorities also said the wounds incurred in the incident were not life-threatening. The bear was later killed.
The woman was part of a tour group of 25 people camping at Sveasletta, in the central part of the Svalbard archipelago. It lies more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of the Norwegian mainland.
When news of the attack broke, authorities rushed to the scene by helicopter, chief superintendent Stein Olav Bredli said.
"The French woman suffered injuries to an arm. Shots were fired at the polar bear, which was scared away from the area,'' he said.
The woman was subsequently flown by helicopter to the hospital in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Svalbard archipelago.
The main newspaper on the Arctic archipelago, Svalbardposten, said the victim was a woman in her 40s. The newspaper quoted a local hospital official as saying that the woman had been slightly hurt in the incident.
The animal, meanwhile, emerged badly injured and following a professional assessment it was euthanized. It was unclear exactly how the killing of the bear was administered.
Polar bears more aggressive than they seem
Incidents with the bears, though rare, do occur from time to time in the region.
Between 2009 and 2019, 14 polar bears were shot, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, from the roughly 20,000-25,000 polar bears that inhabit the Arctic.
Polar bears can be aggressive animals and have been known to attack and even kill people. When food is scarce, polar bears have been witnessed hunting for humans as prey.
In 2015, a polar bear dragged a Czech tourist out of his tent as he and others were camping north of Longyearbyen, on Svalbard archipelago, clawing his back before being driven away by gunshots. The bear was later tracked down and killed by authorities.