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??

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Well I don't agree with your assessment of how the reactions should or shouldn't be. Why do you get to decide how people should react?

Partly I get to decide Michael because I present some evidence for my argument.  Like the history of the organisation, my personal experience of 6 weeks with them in Svaalbard, my own training with them of how to deal with Polar bears.  So if you have some contrary evidence, or a different interpretation of the evidence we might have something to discuss.  What are you adding here?

But where did I say I got to decide how people should react?  I said: find out what actually happened before commenting. I objected to ignorant posts. 

What kind of argument are you putting up?  Present some evidence, or discuss mine.  Tell us why you disagree perhaps and there would be something to discuss. This is a shit argument.  Try harder.

Right here with you. It's not only wrong it's pathetic.

That's pretty strong.  Did you check the circumstances before you commented so harshly?

And what would you have done Gabriele?  Would you ban travel to the arctic?  Because once you allow it, then interaction with bears will occasionally result - and rarely and unfortunately, that will end up with dead humans and /or dead bears.

But for the BSES this is very rare; and killing a bear is very much the last resort.  So I don't think it's pathetic.  But in the context of the fantastic work done by the BSES, this is an isolated and unfortunate incident.  I would definitely still want my children to go on one of the BSES expeditions.

I was on this same expedition to the same place (Spitzbergen/Svaalbard) with the BSES in 1989.  The precautions taken by the expedition to avoid incidents with bears are severe.  The requirement to carry a rifle is imposed by the Norwegian Government - but rightly so in these circumstances as the bears are aggressive and do attack.

This expedition had set trip wires and flares around the tents to intimidate the bears - but apparently they didn't go off.  So by the time a bear is in a tent and killing a teenager, the not unreasonable reaction is to put a dumdum bullet into it's head.

Yes - it is less than ideal.  But the alternative would appear to be to ban travel into arctic regions so as to avoid contact with bears which would also be pretty bad.  This organisation has been organising actic expeditions for teenagers for decades and it has a pretty good accident record.  My trip was life changing - and I'd not have missed it.

So I think that this was a rare and tragic accident - but I'd not advocate changing much, other than reviewing the saftey precautions which no doubt will happen now anyway. 

I feel the same. First we are animals too and mammals have emotions of love, fear etc. Its time to respect the wild life and give them their space.

Right. Its like they don't think lions, bears etc are fierce animals. They do what they're supposed to do. Then when something happens, people get all personal and take "revenge"...like thats gonna show those other animals not to mess with us

Ronald: this is just not accurate.  Please read my responses above.

They did not get personal and take revenge.  They shot a bear that had go into a tent and was killing a teenager.


As much as I love animals too Jimmy Boy has a point that it is important to check all of the facts before placing judgement. This is an emotional issue because people have overreacted before and animals got slaughtered needlessly but this is not always automatically the case.


Thank you Doubting Thomas.  This is a topic I actually really do know something about and the level of ignorance displayed in the comments here is horrible.

Freethinkers should check their facts before firing off on their pet topics.  We all do it, but for once I really happen to be able to comment specifically - and it is apparent that the quality of comment here is really very low.

The organisation (The British Schools Exploring Society) is responsible for ground-breaking primary research over many decades in this environment.  They have massive respect for the arctic, for Svaalbard, for the bears - and this is the first time I have heard of them having a bear kill an explorer.  I'm trying to find out if they have ever had to resort to shooting a bear before at all.  Certainly nothing like it happened the year I went.  Respect for the environment, the animals and plants was absolutely top of our agenda. That was why we were there!

To hear the comments on this thread, one might be forgiven for thinking that a bunch of kids just decided to go camping in the wilds and got the wrong spot. This could not be further from the truth.

Ironically it is very plausible that the bears are moving further inland looking for food etc. because of the effects of global warming that we have wrecked upon the planet.

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.


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