Social media has erupted into loud outrage after a polar bear was shot and killed by a guard during a Norwegian cruise ship’s guest excursion within the Arctic Circle on Saturday afternoon.
According to NbcWashingtonNews, a polar bear, in his natural habitat, attacked and injured a guard who had been leading tourists off the cruise ship onto Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Another guard from the German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ company then shot and killed the bear. Spokespeople for the cruise company stated the bear was killed “in an act of self defense.”
The guard who was attacked did not suffer life threatening injuries and is currently being treated at a nearby hospital. All cruise ships traveling in the region are required to have polar bear guards.
Animal advocates, including comedian Ricky Gervais, have taken to Twitter calling the animal’s killing despicable.
“Let’s get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill if if it gets too close. Morons,” Gervais posted.
“My point was stay away from the bear in the first place. The human wouldn’t be hurt and the bear wouldn’t be dead,” Gervais followed up on his next Twitter post.
Arctic tourism has been on the rise, and more than 18 cruise ships are expected to be docking at the Svalbard port in the coming week. Advocates continue to express their disgust for humans invading the space where wild animals live and punishing them for our entertainment and food.
Globally polar bear populations continue to decrease. In the United States, their population is also in decline. Pollutants and contaminants, which have been slow to degrade in the environment, bond to the fatty tissues of the polar bears; all of which have caused problems in reproduction, thyroid and the animals’ immune systems. Global warming has also been cited as a reason for the loss of the polar bear population. Sea ice is the natural habitat for the bears and provide the routes for traveling and hunting. As the sea ice melts, the bears are being forced into human populated areas, and we all know what that will mean for their ultimate survival.
Rest in peace polar bear. What a terrible injustice done to you – just for being a wild animal.
(Photo screenshot Scanpix via AP)
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