A man in his 50s who in April drove a pickup truck onto the sea ice in Billefjorden where two polar bears were nearby is facing criminal charges, prosecutors said this week.
The man reportedly drove onto the ice without checking for bears and other wildlife, and passed within about 50 meters of the bears at a speed of about 50 kilometers per house, Svalbardposten reported Wednesday. The bears were frighted by his presence and ran off.
The Svalbard Environmental Protection Act prohibits behavior that affects the behavior of wildlife. The man, who drove to and from Pyramiden to areas in Billefjorden, is also facing charges of not having the necessary certificates to operate a vehicle in the area.
The case will be tried in Nord-Troms district court at a date to be determined.