A 38 year Dutch national has been mauled to death by a polar bear on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic.
Johan Jacobus Kootte was attacked as he was lying in his tent in a camping area near Longyearbyen. The small town is 800 miles from the North Pole. He was seriously wounded during the attack and died soon after, the local governor’s office said in a statement.
People at the scene fired shots at the bear, which was later found dead near the local airport.
Locals are advised to carry a weapon for protection from the powerful creatures when outside urban areas.
The area is home to about 1,000 polar bears, a protected species since 1973. There have been five deadly attacks on people since 1971 with the most recent one occurring in 2011 when a bear attacked a group of 14 people camping as part of a British school trip. Horatio Chapple, a 17-year-old student from Salisbury was killed and four others were injured before the animal was killed.
Experts have blamed global warming and the shrinking icecap for reducing the polar bears’ hunting grounds which has now forced them to go into urban areas to hunt for food.