Bear is back: Polar bear returns to Isfjord Radio hours after being scared off; officials consider new options


A polar bear that ransacked a food storage room at Isfjord Radio on Sunday morning returned to the station during the evening, prompting officials to return to the area with a helicopter as they pondered options to remove the predator.

“We received a message from the station just after 7 p.m. that the bear had returned to the area,” said Police Chief Lt. Vidar Arnesen in a statement issued by The Governor of Svalbard. “It is now a short distance from the station itself.”

A polar bear expert from the Norwegian Polar Institute accompanied officials from the governor’s office who flew to the station in one of the governor’s rescue helicopters.

“We are considering various measures to get the bear away from the area,” Arnesen said. “It may be that we try to scare it away, or sedate it and fly it far away by helicopter. This will be done in cooperation with the polar bear expert.”

The bear was first observed at about 7 a.m. Sunday in the food storage room, where it tore open food waste bags, ate a bag of chocolates, and smashed wine bottles and windows. It escaped the room and wandered away from the station when the helicopter approached at about 9:30 a.m.

There are currently four employees at the station, which is used as a guest lodge. No overnight visitors are expected during the next several days.