Polar Bear Sparks Fresh Controversy 🐻

BJ Kirschhoffer/Polar Bears International

BJ Kirschhoffer/Polar Bears International

A bear attack

On Saturday, a polar bear was shot and killed on a Norwegian island way up in the Arctic. The bear was killed after it attacked an employee of the MS Bremen cruise ship. The employee was working as a polar bear guard and is currently in stable condition.

Polar Bears 101

Polar bears are classified as vulnerable by the World Wildlife Fund as a result of the loss of their sea ice habitat due to climate change. Polar bears are important to the ecosystem as they are at the top of the food chain and play a vital role in maintaining the health of the marine environment. The biggest threat to polar bears is the loss of sea ice habitat, which forces them to spend more time on land - increasing chances of coming into contact with humans.

The right notes that the shooting was an act of self-defense and calls out other incidents where a human life was lost. The right references a 2011 incident where a British student was killed by a polar bear in Norway. They also refer to an incident last month in Canada where a man was killed by a polar bear while protecting his children. Furthermore, they quote characteristics of polar bears that portray them as powerful predators and masters of the environment. 

The left acknowledges that the guards tried to scare the bear before shooting it. However, they argue that climate change is the real culprit. Melting ice is shrinking the bears' natural habitat and hence increasing human interactions. They also quote experts who provide alternate non-lethal methods that are successful deterrents against polar bears. The left also suggests that if tours like this didn’t exist in the first place, then there would be no human-polar bear interactions to deter. 

Humans vs polar bears

Polar bears have been in the news as of late – for attacks on humans and for the environmental impact to their habitat. In this incident, it is important to consider multiple perspectives. On one hand, the guard had to shoot the bear in order to save his colleague's life. On the other hand, it is important to question whether the tourist group should have been there in the first place. With the loss of sea ice habitat and an increase in Arctic tourism, human-polar bear interactions may become unavoidable moving forward. 

When a human arrives

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