What am I talking about? How come when humans wander in nature and enter the habitat's of wild animals (http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/08/05/norway.polar.bear.death/...) and a human casualty results - subsequently they kill the animal? It is like this with mountain lions, bears, etc. I don't understand - we wander in their turf, what do we expect? These things are going to happen from time to time.

There was one exception - recently in Yosemite there was an attack in which the bear was simply defending its cubs so they didn't kill the bear as the visitors seemed to encroach into the bear's territory - but I just don't understand why the first knee-jerk reaction is to kill the wild animal. I actually find it sad and abhorrent. I don't know...am I getting upset over nothing??

Tags: Beat, Polar, animals, attack, life, wild, wildlife

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Polar bears are by nature inquisitive and aggressive. The law demands that you are armed before venturing out on Svalbard because of the danger to your life and health. These are not pleasure killings, but usually a desperate final act of survival.

You should probably visit the area to get the full experience, nature is continually trying to expel humans from Svalbard and the few people living there are clinging on for dear life. Usually polar bear killers are never allowed to travel to Svalbard again and it is not unlikely the perpetrators will be fined by the sheriff.

Alex,

The training given is on how to use a rifle should it be needed.  Expert advice is given on when to shoot a polar bear, and the only way to shoot one - is to kill.  There is every intention of avoiding having to do so, and they go to some lengths on that front.

They deliberately travelled to Svaalbard - which is 'heavily' (?) populated with bears.  There are bears there - that's where they live.  But this organisation has been running since 1932, started by one of the members of Scott's expedition.  It puts young people into the arctic every year and has a fantastic track record in terms of environmental and other primary arctic research.

If you go to places where there are polar bears you have to accept that occasionally either they will eat you, or you may have to shoot one.  Significant efforts can and are made to avoid the last scenario by BSES.  But unless you ban travel to Svaalbard, then the bears cannot be entirely avoided.  Why would you question the research they have done?  They are genuine experts on Svaalbard!  They send Young Expeditioners there with highly experienced Arctic leaders, every year.

So you are now displaying real ignorance. Please educate yourself on the specifics of this organisation and their expeditions before wading in and making these comments.  You accuse them of arrogance.  I find that more than slightly ironic given the strength of opinions you expressed and the lack of knowledge you had to hand when making them.  Now that is arrogant.

More tragedy for Norway. I wonder did that bear read the Anders Brevik manifesto. Ahhh, that's it!

I find it very hard to find a sliver of sympathy for humans who wander into other animals territory and expect nothing to happen. Is this shocking? No. Is it sad? No, it is completely normal.

Derek - this utterly misrepresentative.  They did not 'wander' in.

Seriously.  Educate yourself as to what happened before commenting.

Wandered in or travelled in for research? What is the meaningful difference in such a situation? I know what happened Jimmy, I've read up on it. But as I've said I find it very hard to find any sympathy for the death of the schoolboy. I've tried but it's just not there. If you are willing to put your life at risk for such research then that's great - but you must accept all of the consequences that come with it, and that includes death. You play with fire you get burned.

The bear was starved and possibly infected with rabies. It would have killed everyone if it had not been put down. In fact, the guy who shot it actually tried to fight it off with the noble art of fisticuffs before reaching for his rifle.

If you care so much about starving bears, you might want to give them a hand. ;)

That's fine Arcus, shoot the bear in self defence but why bother to put lives at risk in the first place? - human and bear. The bears on Svalbard are under stress, there is little food as the ice won't return for a few more months and we have idiots moving through their range, cooking etc and expecting a fence to warn of a bears approach. This is hardly a safe environment for "expeditions" is it?


Why was a single fence used? Why were they sleeping in a similar area to where they had been cooking etc. Seems to me there are a number of serious questions to be asked here of the organisation of this expedition.

 

There needs to be a serious and deep inquiry into future expeditions to Svalbard as it is clear we should not be there if we do not know how to mitigate the risks to both human and bear.

There are answers to all those questions if you bother to read.

 

However you would continue to infer human failure rather then get the facts.

The facts infer human failure. There is no shame in that.

Because Svalbard is a source of great knowledge in a number of fields such as climatology, paleontology, and ecology. The research carried out there adds vast amounts of information to the pool of human knowledge. In addition, it is also home of the Global Seed Vault and there are serious suggestions to put up massive server parks due to it's prime geographical location.

The young man who died was on track to become a medical doctor. The remaining researchers are all young, bright and promising. How many such lives are you willing to sacrifice to save a bear?

No life is worth sacrificing. My point is, why get into that situation in the first place. 100% safety should come before research.

There is no such thing as 100% safety.

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