The MS Bremen, a cruise ship that is part of the Hapag-Lloyd fleet, was in port in the northernmost Svalbard island when a cruise ship worker was attacked by a bear.
The unidentified worker is part of the ship’s “Bear Watch Team” — an armed team trained to accompany expedition leaders as they guide passengers on excursions. Such teams are a requirement for all cruise ships that visit the area.
Details of the attack remain unclear, but spokeswoman Negar Etminan said that the Bear Watcher “was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head,” and that another Bear Watch Team member shot and killed the bear “in an act of self-defence.” The worker was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but the injuries were not life threatening and he was in stable condition shortly after the attack.
The area of the incident is an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole. It is home to thousands of polar bears and is even known as “The Realm of the Polar Bear.” Sustainability is the priority in Svalbard and nearly two thirds of the islands are protected areas, presumably because of climate change. Polar bears are also facing extinction due to global warming.
Despite the fact that the polar bear injured the guard, people are furious a threatened species was killed.
Det blir galt å skyte isbjørnen når det er turister som tar seg inn på isbjørnens område. Isbjørnen vil nok forsvare sitt område, det ville alle gjort.
— Arnt Olaf Nilssen (@Arntolaf) July 28, 2018
It will be wrong to shoot the polar bear when there are tourists who take their place on the polar bear area. The polar bear would probably defend his area, it would all do.
Fel, fel att skjuta en isbjörn när nyfikna turister ger sig in på hans område. Tänk till före så slipper vi läsa om liknade händelser igen.
— lg (@qwert6755) July 28, 2018
Wrong, wrong to shoot a polar bear when curious tourists are entering on his area. Think before so we don’t have to read about similar events again.
Why is it that humans life is more important than that bear…? it could have a cub somewhere in danger. Humans are constantly entering their habitat and expect them not to react? “Killed in self defence” you entered his home. https://t.co/2whtHzMJzc
— Hêlîn (@MUnitedGirl) July 29, 2018
Humans facilitating mass extinction because they can and because they think they're exceptional. Even if you are at the top of the food chain, when the supporting food chain is gone you will die too, no matter how exceptional you might be.
— MyNormandyVillage (@greenbeltnagger) July 29, 2018
Shame, heartbreaking, leave the bears alone, keep off their space
— johnron p. (@JohnronP) July 29, 2018
It’s desperate for food, it shouldn’t be killed. You’re invading its habitat, which is rapidly dwindling. Have some healthy respect for its space and struggle.
— (@NatalieRamsdell) July 29, 2018
— Jimmybrigg (@briggferrier) July 29, 2018
Who really attacked who. The polar bear was in its natural habitat. The tourists were tourists… and got the bear killed.
— Antonio Batiste (@batiste23703) July 28, 2018
If the MS Bremen cruise ship HADN'T taken tourists onto the archipelago NO ONE would have been hurt especially now a dead polar bear. It seems the German Hapag Lloyd Cruises are more interested in greed than safety of polar bears. https://t.co/RRnx7y6cNU
— June DeLong (@bellagirl8114) July 29, 2018
If you walk into someone else’s house uninvited…
— shane (@ShaneScaffa) July 30, 2018
Horrendous news! I simply don’t understand why companies encroach on areas which the Polar Bears have made their own. It’s dangerous and as this sadly shows often hurts the Polar Bears. We should be protecting these majestic creatures, not killing them. https://t.co/I8RNdK1Vof
— Jane Dodds (@DoddsJane) July 29, 2018
While cruise ship excursions are a fun and easy way to experience an unknown place, cruise lines should prioritize local wildlife as well as safety for their passengers.