Update 6:30 p.m.: The governor is chasing the bear south through Bolterdalen and plans to continue chasing it to Tverrdalen.
Update 5:50 p.m.: Green Dog Svalbard also reported an encounter with a polar bear at their kennels about 10 kilometers east of Longyearbyen, the governor’s office told Svalbardposten.
Original story: A polar bear was spotted Wednesday afternoon in Bolterdalen, a valley southeast of Longyearbyen, prompting a warning from officials after bear tracks were also observed Tuesday on Longyearbreen south of town.
“The governor is the area,” an alert issued by the governor’s office at about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday states. “A helicopter is on its way. The governor asks people not to visit the area.”
The valley that begins about six kilometers east of Longyearbyen at the base of Mine 6 and where the annual Svalbard Skimarathon takes place.
Additional details were not immediately available.
The governor was also notified at about 4 a.m. Tuesday about tracks on Longyearbreen, with officials stating the tracks appear fresher than those left by a polar bear that visited town multiple times before it was killed on New Year’s Day, according to Svalbardposten. A helicopter search found tracks leading away from town into Fardalen.
The bear apparently was not in the vicinity of a group from The University Centre in Svalbard doing an emergency rescue exercise on the glacier on Tuesday, which also involved extensive use of one of the governor’s rescue helicopters.