UPDATE: The polar bear’s autopsy has been completed. According to the authorities, the male animal, which was about 6 years old, weighed only 231 kilograms, as Svalbardposten reports. This is too little at this time of year for a polar bear of this age. As a rule, it should have between 50 and 100 percent more. Why the animal weighed so little is not known.
Male polar bears are always out hunting during the winter and spring to build up fat reserves for the summer. What motivated the shot bear to attack one of the two guides can only be speculated.
On Svalbard a guide of a local and longtime tour operator has been surprised and attacked by a polar bear. The attack happened on Tuesday morning when the guide was out with a colleague. The guide was injured and the polar bear was shot by the second guide. The Sysselmannen have been informed.
At 9.25 a.m. the Syssselmannen, the administration of Svalbard, received the message about the attack and the shooting of the polar bear. Officials and a doctor flew by helicopter to the scene, some 71 kilometres east of Longyearbyen. The injured man was picked up and flown back to Longyearbyen, where he was able to get into the waiting ambulance on his own. The second guide, who had to shoot the polar bear, stayed behind with the Sysselmannen in the Mohnbukta for the investigations.
According to the owner of the company concerned to the newspaper Svalbardposten, the two guides are very experienced and know their way around. The polar bear surprised them when they were measuring the thickness of the ice in the frozen bay. No other people were present at the incident.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
I have to slightly disagree with one statement – that “what motivated the bear to attack can only be speculated” … I will dare to state that careful interrogation of the humans involved would be able to reveal exactly what motivated the bear. But that is of course no the same as saying that it will happen.
Thank you for your comment. I would think that this 1. woould depend on the questions asked to the guides; 2. the perception of the guides knowing exactly all of their actions prior to the attack; 3. knowing how the bear had perceived the situation and the behaviour of the guides. Polar bears, as you know, have a very subtle communication and it is definitely not clear how a bear “reads” humans and their behaviour. We only have guesses (Albeit backed by some statistics and probability equation). As there is no footage of the bear, any comment on what had caused the bear to attack, is pure speculation.
But a good point nonetheless.