Polar bear shot dead after attacking tour guide near North Pole

The man was a crew member onboard MS Bremen operated by Hapag Lloyd Cruises. Source Hapag-LloydMore

A polar bear was shot and killed in Norway after attacking a polar bear guard.

A polar bear that bit a cruise ship worker on the head has been shot dead on the Svalbard archipelago.

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

The World Wildlife Fund lists polar bears as a vulnerable species. Live web-cam from the ship at 80'North of Svalbard is online, but no information about the injured person or the shooting of the polar bear was published by Saturday evening.

"He is out of danger, with no threat to life", the post reads.

The guard who was attacked, he said, had suffered head injuries but was now responsive and in "stable condition".

Last month, a 31-year-old Canadian man was killed while protecting his children from a polar bear in a popular Canadian fishing and hunting spot.

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The injured man was flown by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen - the main settlement on the Arctic archipelago - on the island of Spitsbergen.

The guard was injured during a trip to an island in Svalbard, which is located between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The polar bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said.

Tourist expeditions are required to employ bear guards for the safety of the passengers. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has worked comprehensively and co-operatively with the Norwegian authorities to reconstruct and clarify the incident on the ground and will continue to do so", the company added.

With a population of 22,000 to 31,000, polar bears are considered "vulnerable" animals on the extinction risk chart. In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change.

Officials in Svalbard frequently issue warnings about the dangers posed by polar bears.

One user suggested: "If you need a 4-person polar bear guard team perhaps you should not be visiting here".

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