Arctic cruise ship guard shoots polar bear dead for injuring colleague

A polar bear which Norwegian authorities said attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole is seen after being shot dead by another employee

An unidentified man was attacked and hurt by a polar bear on Norway's Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, newspaper Aftenposten reported Saturday.

Two guards went onto the island and one was "attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head", the German Hapag Lloyd Cruises company, which operates the ship, told the Associated Press.

The injured man was taken by helicopter to hospital. His identity was not released.

No further information about the attack was given, but a photograph showed the polar bear's body after it was killed by the other guard.

Meanwhile fellow Twitter user Gareth Stringer commented: "Polar bear shot for being a Polar Bear".

She said all cruise ships traveling in the northern region are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

Tourism in the area has increased in recent years and is at its highest in the summer months. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises spokesperson Negar Etminan said he suffered head injuries but they were non-life threatening. "In an act of self-defence, unfortunately, it was necessary for the polar bear to be shot dead".

Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island
Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

The long-running cruise company said they had travelled to the destination for many years and were "very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife".

Polar bears have been protected in Norway since 1973 and almost 1,000 were counted on Svalbard during a 2015 census.

The statement explains that in preparing to take a group of visitors ashore in Spitzbergen - a Norwegian archipelago - an advance group of polar guards are sent ashore without passengers.

A German cruise line company has been criticised after the killing of a polar bear that attacked an employee.

An estimated 3000 polar bears live on Svalbard, a wilderness of glaciers and ice caps between Norway and the North Pole. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately".

On Twitter, there's been outrage over human intrusion of the polar bear's natural habitat.

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