Polar Bear Kills Man, The First Time In 9 Years

Fred Gunner

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A polar bear has killed a man in Norway's Arctic Spitsbergen island, local officials say.

The attack occurred at a campsite near Longyearbyen, the main town of the island in the Svalbard archipelago.

The bear was then shot and found dead at the local airport.

The man, identified as 38-year-old Dutch citizen Johan Jacobus Kootte, was attacked in his tent before dawn on Friday and died shortly afterwards of his injuries.

Svalbard officials say there were seven people on the site at the time and they are being looked after by health services.

Campsite owner Michelle van Dijk said the man who died had been in his second season as manager; "He had done the right training and knew how everything worked there," she told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

There had been a warning on Thursday of a polar bear roaming around Longyearbyen, she said. "He said the situation was under control."

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Soelvi Elvedah, deputy governor on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, said the Dutch camping site worker was mauled in his tent early on Friday. Rushed to hospital in the main town of Longyearbyen, the 38-year-old was declared dead.

The bear too was found fatally wounded at a nearby airport parking lot after being shot by onlookers. Six other people were hospitalized for shock.

People outside Svalbard’s main settlements are required to carry a means to protect themselves from animals. Authorities recommend carrying a gun.

Norwegian NRK broadcasting said Friday's pre-dawn fatality was the fifth person killed by polar bears since 1971. The last was in 2011 when a British student among campers on a school trip. In 2015, a Czech tourist, also in a tent, survived as gunshots drove that bear away.

An advice website for visitors says the bears can appear anywhere on Svalbard and urges people to stay as far away as possible to avoid situations that could be dangerous “for you and for the bear”. It is understood that staff working at the campsite have firearms.

Svalbard is dotted with warnings about polar bears. Visitors who choose to sleep outdoors receive stern warnings from the authorities that people must carry firearms when moving outside settlements.

The last death from a polar bear encounter in Svalbard happened in 2011 when Horatio Chapple, a 17-year-old boy from Salisbury, south-west England, was killed at a campsite while on a trip organised by the British Schools Exploring Society.

In 2015, a polar bear dragged a Czech tourist out of his tent as he and others were camping north of Longyearbyen, clawing his back before being driven away by gunshots.

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Elvedahl said it was not clear if a guard against bears had been stationed at the campsite. “It will be part of the investigation. We are in bear territory, and polar bears are a danger to humans.”

Six other people were staying in tents at the campsite when the attack took place. According to NRK, the campsite does not allow guests to have firearms on the site and does not advise bear alarms or the use of flares as bear deterrents during the summer season when bear approaches are less frequent.

The campsite’s owner, it emerged, had recently purchased electric bear fencing to protect the site.

The attack took place amid several recent sightings of bears around Svalbard. A female bear with young was darted and moved, while on Tuesday night two bears were observed near Longyearbyen.

 

Nyati

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Sad news, but when you tempt fate, misfortunes happen .
 

Scott CWO

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Horrible and of course it happened in 2020. It's been a Longyearbyen.:A Outta:
 

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Spitzbergen is probably the only country in the world, where you are asked to take a gun for a walk.
 

crs

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After reading this, WHY would any sane person be willing to tent-camp there?

Maybe the same people that feed bears in Yellowstone Park or try to pet the bison in the wild parks, or get with the danger zone with wild bull elk?
 

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Sadly the bear had to be put down because people were not prepared.
 

Fred Gunner

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  • Visitors who choose to sleep outdoors receive stern warnings from the authorities that people must carry firearms when moving outside settlements.
  • the campsite does not allow guests to have firearms on the site
  • It is understood that staff working at the campsite have firearms.
  • several conflicting statements regarding firearms in these reports?
 

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  • Visitors who choose to sleep outdoors receive stern warnings from the authorities that people must carry firearms when moving outside settlements.
  • the campsite does not allow guests to have firearms on the site
  • It is understood that staff working at the campsite have firearms.
  • several conflicting statements regarding firearms in these reports?
Was thinking the exact same thing..................
 

Randy F

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Maybe it's just because if I camp, it's a hunting camp, but after seeing the pictures, aren't there about a billion better places to camp? Maybe one without a high risk of a violent death?
 

Fred Gunner

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:LOL: Well what was I thinking?!
Meanwhile DownUnder:
Wildlife rangers in Australia have trapped a 14.5-foot, 770-pound saltwater crocodile at a tourist spot in the country’s Northern Territory.
The giant male croc was caught in the Flora River at a remote nature park on Friday, about 75 miles southwest of the Outback town of Katherine, said Katherine senior wildlife ranger, John Burke. He said it was the biggest crocodile caught in the area in several years.

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Randy F

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Great! I got as far away from polar bears as I could, only to be torn apart by a crocodile.
WHAT A CROCK!!
 

flatwater bill

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From reading the story, I think it was the first polar bear fatality in 9 years in THAT location. Perhaps there have been other fatalities in the interim in other areas. Still, worrysome place to camp..............FWB
 

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What exactly does "anti-bear electric fencing" do? 'Cause my dog learned that our electric zappy-collar "invisible fence" didn't really hurt once he got past it, and his fluffy neck mitigated the zap.

Somehow I don't think a determined-enough bear the size of a car would care too much about electric fences.
 

Randy F

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What exactly does "anti-bear electric fencing" do? 'Cause my dog learned that our electric zappy-collar "invisible fence" didn't really hurt once he got past it, and his fluffy neck mitigated the zap.

Somehow I don't think a determined-enough bear the size of a car would care too much about electric fences.
My guess is that is would enrage them sufficiently enough that they come in for a quick kill rather than playing with their food. :oops:
 

Pondoro

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The issue is that many tourists and others do not take the danger these bears posess serious enough..

The authorities up there issue WW2 K98´s rebarreled to .30-06 and FMJ mil. surplus ammo to those who dont have their own firearms...not quite the combo to face a polar bear with..
 

Pondoro

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To be warned you need to set up fireworks with trip wire around all tents in camp..
 

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