BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies cyclist killed after being hit by car on Lima Road Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies downtown Washington Boulevard crash victim Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Allen County coroner identifies Hawthorn Suites shooting victim Full Story

Cruise line faces backlash over shooting of polar bear

A German cruise line is facing outrage after one of its employees shot and killed a wild polar bear in Norway after t...

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 11:56 AM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 11:56 AM

A German cruise line is facing outrage after one of its employees shot and killed a wild polar bear in Norway after the animal attacked another of its employees.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said its ship was docked at Spitsbergen, the largest island on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, on Saturday when the bear attacked a guard hired to go on shore before passengers to ensure there aren't any polar bears in the area.

The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and was airlifted out, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said in a statement on Facebook.

"The incident occurred when the four-person polar bear guard team, who are always on board for these expedition cruises as required by law, prepared for a shore leave," the company said.

However, they failed to spot one bear, who attacked one of the guards, the cruise line said. The other guards shot the bear after trying unsuccessfully to evict the animal, the company said.

"There had to be intervention for reasons of self-defense and to protect the life of the attacked person," the company said. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened."

The incident occurred during a 10-day cruise on the MS Bremen, a ship that holds up to 155 passengers.

The World Wildlife Fund lists polar bears as a vulnerable species.

"It's incredibly tragic," said wildlife conservationist Jeff Corwin on CNN Sunday. "When there's only 25,000 polar bears left on the planet, every one matters.

"When you are in this ecosystem as a tourist, as an explorer or as a scientist, you have the responsibility to follow the protocols to ensure that you stay safe and that you don't interfere with the wild behavior of polar bears."

Online reaction to the episode has been highly critical.

"'Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close,' Morons," British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted.

"Tourism... again proving itself to be harmful to wildlife," tweeted biologist Adam Hart.

"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.

In its Facebook statement, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises notes that landings on Spitsbergen are only possible in a few places and these are not done for polar bear observation.

"Polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance," the company says.

The Norwegian Polar Institute has no shortage of warnings about polar bears and urges visitors to Svalbard -- an island cluster in the Arctic Ocean, some 1,200 miles north of continental Norway -- to arm themselves:

"Due to the risk of meeting polar bears visitors traveling in Svalbard must always have firearms and protection devices at hand, such as a big-game rifle and ammunition for self-defense, flare gun or an emergency signal flare pen for driving off polar bears and tripwire with flares for camping," its online cruise handbook states.

"Do remember that it is prohibited to follow, seek out or lure polar bears. This great predator has little respect for humans and dangerous situations can easily arise if people get too close," says the NPI, Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research in the Arctic. "Almost every year a polar bear is killed in Svalbard after confrontations with humans or because of safety perspective in the settlements."

The 3,000 or so polar bears living on the main island of the Svalbard archipelago outnumber humans, according to the Norwegian government.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 836049

Reported Deaths: 10323
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin98533705
Cuyahoga831801065
Hamilton61931441
Montgomery42028399
Summit33849736
Lucas30524605
Butler30003228
Stark25093419
Warren19083140
Lorain18418212
Mahoning16931337
Lake15592136
Clermont15335105
Delaware1403077
Licking12819132
Trumbull12515307
Fairfield1232480
Greene11729135
Medina11286165
Clark10672264
Wood10081156
Allen9639126
Portage9006107
Miami895273
Richland8910116
Marion7377113
Tuscarawas7177174
Columbiana7164124
Pickaway710350
Wayne6855165
Muskingum678241
Erie5976118
Hancock542990
Ross535287
Scioto527063
Geauga491755
Darke459489
Ashtabula443172
Lawrence439353
Union437028
Sandusky427462
Mercer427387
Seneca417357
Auglaize416259
Huron416138
Shelby413521
Jefferson409066
Belmont403740
Washington375940
Putnam367872
Athens36759
Madison343429
Knox340122
Ashland336838
Fulton328543
Defiance322578
Crawford316371
Preble313836
Brown298819
Logan296529
Ottawa283934
Clinton281243
Williams272866
Highland266018
Jackson259043
Guernsey245325
Champaign244427
Fayette229729
Morrow22574
Perry223318
Holmes220362
Henry213547
Hardin206433
Coshocton199620
Van Wert198744
Wyandot192549
Gallia192126
Adams167415
Pike167417
Hocking165523
Carroll151316
Paulding141121
Noble118740
Meigs105021
Monroe97229
Harrison8598
Morgan79728
Vinton67613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 17°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 17°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 17°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 18°
Sunshine, Warmer Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events