Polar bear in Bolterdalen

Press release from the Governor of Svalbard

During the past days a polar bear has stayed in the Bolterdalen area. The area is outside the zone near the settlement where, according to the polar bear instruction, the Governor moves out when polar bears are observed. However, this bear has, on two occasions, sought out tour groups and created dangerous situations.

– The Governor has therefore chosen to push the bear away from the area. We are monitoring the situation closely, Police Chief Superintendent Ole Jakob Malmo says.

– Killing a polar bear is definitely the last resort. We do not currently have any plans for this when it comes to the bear in Bolterdalen. If the bear reappears, we will make new attempts to push it away. In consultation with the polar bear expertise in-house with us and at the Norwegian Polar Institute, we will also consider the possibility of sedating the bear and carrying it away by helicopter, Ole Jakob Malmo says.

He emphasizes that it is very important that everyone helps to prevent polar bears from visiting Longyearbyen, and also notifies the Governor as soon as they observe polar bears close to or in the settlement.

The Governor urges everyone not to store meat, food and food waste outdoors and to be loyal to the waste management system in Longyearbyen. The polar bear has a very good sense of smell and is attracted by the smell of food.

The Governor also reminds everyone that it is not permitted to seek out or intimidate polar bears, so that it is disturbed or dangerous situations arise.

– We ask people not to visit the area and generally be careful when traveling outside the settlement, Ole Jakob Malmo points out

Date of publication: 19 Jan 2020

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