Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of May 3, 2016


Polar bear spotted near town gets ticket to far northeast
A polar bear that wandered near Longyearbyen last Friday has been released  at Ringertzøya in Nordaustlandet, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The three-year-old male, which weighs about 240 kilograms and has been previous tagged by researchers, was not involved in any close encounters with people before laying down on the ice across the bay from Longyearbyen early during the afternoon. Scores of onlookers watched from town as experts from the Norwegian Polar Institute tranquilized the bear a couple of hours later from one the governor’s rescue helicopters and then flew the animal to the northeast portion of the archipelago.

May Day gets low local labor turnout despite big concerns  
Longyearbyen might be facing one of its worst workers’ crises ever, but turnout for this year’s May Day parade was relatively light as about 35 people participated in the march from Svalbard Church to the center of town on Sunday. “This is among the smallest processions we’ve had here on May 1, but it may be due to the good weather and that people are out on tour,” said Robert Hermansen, former administrative director of Store Norske and a participant in the parade for the past 20 years. Local participants in the worldwide labor holiday focused on securing coal mine jobs in Svalbard, ensuring work for all, and protecting wages and benefits against cutbacks. Reductions in worker protections have been a heightened concern of labor leaders in Norway since a coalition lead by the Conservative Party took over the country’s leadership after the 2013 parliamentary election.

Dog gets free from owners, attacks and injures reindeer
A dog got loose and attacked and injured a reindeer last week in Adventdalen, although it’s not known how severely, according to The Governor of Svalbard. Police are investigating the incident as a possible criminal case.