Tag Archives: Norwegian Polar Institute

‘(NEAR) RECORD NUMBER OF ANIMALS AND TWO CRUEL DEATHS’: Annual Svalbard reindeer count shows Mother Nature was kind, but humans discarding steel wires were a fatal snag

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Photo by Trine Lise Sviggum Helgerud / Norwegian Polar Institute

It was a highly favorable winter for nearly 1,700 Svalbard reindeer, the second-highest count ever in an annual census, but for researchers conducting the count it’s two reindeer who didn’t survive who are much in mind as they were fatally snagged in wires discarded by humans.

LOCAL POLAR BEARS MAY BE EXTINCT IN 50 YEARS – BUT ‘THRIVING’ NOW: Norwegian Polar Institute issues dire warning about future; ‘denialist’ blog uses NPI data to cast doubt

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Photo by Jon Aars / Norwegian Polar Institute

Fundamental rule of journalism: be wary of a scientific study headlined “may” – as in “Polar bears may be extinct on Svalbard in 50 years,” according to a Norwegian Polar Institute press release issued this week.

So besides looking for “yes, but” qualifiers in the study, scanning the internet for the usual naysayers seems in order. 

WOW…WALRUSES! BUT, PLEASE, BE WARY: Rare appearance by eight of the gregarious creatures at Hotelnesset draws crowd, but governor says some too close for comfort (and safety)

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Photo by Elizabeth Bourne

Visiting cruise ship passengers are still absent from the harbor area of Longyearbyen this summer, but a different group of visitors Tuesday evening got almost certainly a more cherished welcome from locals as eight walruses made a rare disembarkation onto the shore at the edge of town.

But, as happens with cruise ship passengers, it turns out officials needed to issue a warning about proper interaction between humans and the environment as some of the former got too close to the latter.

THIN HUNTING: Polar bear that attacked man this week weighed one-third less than normal for its age, expert says

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A polar bear that was fatally shot after attacking a man in East Svalbard on Tuesday was the six-year-old male son of a well-known female bear who has visited near Longyearbyen for many years – and he weighed just 231 kilograms, at least one-third less than a healthy bear his age, which may have been a factor in the attack, according to a Norwegian Polar Institute expert.

NO CHARGES IN DRUGGED BEAR’S DEATH: Autopsy shows polar bear tranqilized for research tagging apparently drowned when its head ended up in water, governor rules

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A polar bear that died in September while in the process of being “tagged” by researchers likely drowned when its head ended up in a pool of water, The Governor of Svalbard announced Tuesday. As a result, no charges are being sought in the matter.

POLAR BEAR DIES WHILE BEING ‘TAGGED’: Researchers were fitting bear with monitoring device commonly used to track species’ population Svalbard; governor investigating death

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A polar bear being “tagged” for observation by researchers in north Svalbard died on Wednesday, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The cause is under investigation.

TWO POLAR BEARS FLOWN AWAY, TWO NEW ONES ARRIVE: Well-known female bear and her cub removed from cabin area at Hiorthhamn, but new ones near town separately hours later

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Photo by Guri Opheim.

A female polar bear who’s been a persistent visitor to the Longyearbyen area was flown with her cub well away from town Monday after yet another lingering visit to the cabin area at Hiorthhamn. But within hours two new bears arrived near town, one in Adventdalen and the other near at Revneset – with the latter trying to enter cabins and prompting officials to try to scare it scare it away using flash-bang shots and helicopter, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

“The governor asks people to be alert when they are out in the field and report if they observe polar bears,” a statement issued Tuesday morning notes.

COVID-19 INFECTS CREW ON COAST GUARD SHIP IN SVALBARD: One person tests positive, other 61 quarantined following voyage that picked up researchers at Bjørnøya

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One crew member aboard the Norwegian Coast Guard’s KV Andenes has tested positive for COVID-19 and the other 61 aboard will be placed in quarantine following a voyage in Svalbard that began July 24 and picked up a group of Norwegian Polar Institute researchers at Bjørnøya, the coast guard announced in a press release Wednesday evening.

‘UNNECESSARY RISK’ BY OFFICIALS IN POLAR BEAR’S DEATH: Lack of equipment and failure to assess animal’s health among faults by governor and science experts, report states

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Sharp criticism of the death of a polar bear tranquilized by officials in January near Longyearbyen is being expressed by The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, noting among other problems a lack of necessary equipment and failing to adequately assess the condition of the bear to determine if it could withstand the anesthesia, according to a report obtained by Svalbardposten.

AUTOPSY – BEAR DIED OF ANESTHESIA-RELATED CAUSES: Officials cite ‘unfortunate,’ but not unexpected reasons polar bear stunned near Longyearbyen died on helicopter flight north

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A two-year-old polar bear sedated and flown by helicopter away from Longyearbyen in late January because of repeated visits in/near town died during the flight of “circulatory failure/shock due to the combination of prolonged chasing, stress and drug anesthesia,” the Norwegian Polar Institute declared in a statement Thursday following an autopsy.