Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship employee near North Pole

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A polar bear was shot and killed this weekend after attacking a cruise ship guard who was helping tourists during an island expedition, Norwegian authorities have confirmed.

Three years ago a Czech man who visited the archipelago to watch a solar eclipse was attacked in his tent by a polar bear. The team failed to spot that there was a bear on the shore and it charged the man.

He suffered a head injury, the cruise company said.

A polar bear was shot and killed after attacking a cruise ship guard on an archipelago in Norway.

This is not the first time people are attacked by polar bears on Svalbard.

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"Maybe cruise sightseeing tours shouldn't take place then polar bear guards wouldn't be needed to protect gawking tourists & polar bears would be left in peace & not shot dead merely to satisfy a photo op?" suggested genealogist Jane Roberts on Twitter.

Svalbard is a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps that lies between Norway and the North Pole.

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", said Negar Etminan, a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd. According to the schedule at Longyearbyen port near the scene, 18 cruise ships will be docking there this week, the AP reported.

"'Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close, ' Morons", actor-comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted. To prepare for a shore leave, the polar bear guards go ashore in advance after sighting the landing site as a group and without passengers. "The polar bear distribution is strongly related to the distribution of sea ice", it added. The area's 3 000 polar bears outnumber the human population, although that is probably set to change in the years to come.

But critics online say the bear was only acting like a bear, and didn't deserve to die. "Customers need to start asking themselves if they feel good about a native bear being shot dead to enable their selfish intrusion into this handsome creature's home", wrote one upset poster.