• Norway edition
 
Norwegian polar bear found starved to death
Starved Bear - Dr Ian Stirling

Norwegian polar bear found starved to death

Published: 07 Aug 2013 07:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Aug 2013 07:33 GMT+02:00

"It had moved a long way north which the Norwegian Polar Institute said was very unusual," said Ashley Cooper, who found the bear on July 7. "It just kept going north to find sea ice to hunt seals on."
 
Cooper, who runs the agency Global Warming Images, said that the eco-tourism expedition he was with,  accompanied by renowned polar bear expert Dr Ian Stirling, had travelled deep into the Arctic before it found ice. 
 
"We had to push up until 550 miles from the North Pole before we found any sea ice, which was kind of rotten. It was very patchy and broken up and thin, only just about holding the weight of a polar bear." 
 
The bear, a 16-year-old male, was found on on a small island near Texas Bar. When it was tagged in April in southern Svalbard, some 250 kilometres from where it was found, it had been in a healthy condition. 
 
Dr Ian Stirling, who works as an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, told The Local that this spring's record low levels of sea ice were the most likely reason for the bear's death. 
 
"The bear was extremely thin, no apparent fat at all, and based on all these pieces of information, I thought the most likely cause of death was starvation."
 
Stirling stressed however that as he was not able to handle the carcass or take samples, this could not be known with certainty.  He confirmed that Svalbard had seen unusually low levels of sea ice last winter, making it difficult for polar bears to find food. 
 
"I had been following the ice on the satellite images all winter, so I was well aware that many of the fiords and inter-island channels did not freeze normally, if at all last winter, probably because of climate warming." 
 
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, eight of the 12 polar bear groups for which data is available have declining populations. It predicts that the number of polar bears will decrease by between one-third and a half over the next 45 years.
 
Svalbard's polar bears draw in thousands of tourists every year, and those on expeditions must be equipped with guns and polar bear wires to protect themselves from the animals. 
 
In 2011, Horatio Chapple, a 17-year-old British schoolboy, was mauled to death when a bear entered his expedition's campsite. 

Richard Orange (richard.orange@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines

Norway defies Hungary in 'political' aid row

Oil-rich Norway vowed Friday to continue backing Hungarian NGOs despite complaints from Budapest that it was funding the country's opposition. READ  

Hurtigruten taken over by British company
Photo: Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten taken over by British company

The Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten has been bought out by Silk Bidco in a deal worth nearly 3,000 million kroner on Friday. READ  

Soccer boss gets 'video nasty' with Norway team
Norway football coach Per Mathias Høgmo. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Soccer boss gets 'video nasty' with Norway team

Norway's national team coach is set to use an advanced video surveillance system to snoop on everything his players do during training and matches as a means to improve performance. READ  

Norway, Sweden may co-host 2026 Olympics
Tromdheim to co-host the 2026 Winter Olympics may be a slippery slope. Photo: Ned Alley / Scanpix

Norway, Sweden may co-host 2026 Olympics

Top Norwegian sports officials want to make a joint bid for Norway and Sweden to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. READ  

Solberg to visit flood devastation in Norway
A house in Flåm destroyed by the heavy floods. Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

Solberg to visit flood devastation in Norway

Norway's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, will visit Aurland in West Norway - weather permitting - to see the extent of this week's flood damage for herself, it was announced on Thursday. READ  

Rise of the Norwegian wolverine
An adult wolverine. Photo: Shutterstock

Rise of the Norwegian wolverine

The number of wolverines across Norway has risen 15 percent this year, highlighting a boom in the endangered species, says a top animal protection group. READ  

Turkey: Norway embassy sent suspect packages
The Norwegian embassy in located in Ankara, Turkey. Photo: Shutterstock

Turkey: Norway embassy sent suspect packages

The Norwegian embassy in Ankara and the Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday received suspicious packages, officials said, the latest in a string of such incidents in the country. READ  

Avalanche update: Mount Mannen more stable
A recent shot of Mount Mannen. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Avalanche update: Mount Mannen more stable

The movements of rock masses that threaten to create an avalanche on Mount Mannen in south-western Norway have slowed down significantly due to the weather, said geologists on Thursday. READ  

Norway to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan
Erna Solberg is backing the US-led coalition in Iraq and NATO's objectives in Afghanistan. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT / NTB scanpix

Norway to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan

The government is set to send Norwegian soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, it was confirmed on Thursday. READ  

Russian fighter planes skirt Norwegian airspace
Norwegian F-16 fighter jets shadow the Russian planes which flew near the Nordic state's restricted airspace. Photo: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB scanpix

Russian fighter planes skirt Norwegian airspace

Norway's air force was on high alert on Wednesday after eight Russian military airplanes were spotted over the sea, near to Norwegian restricted airspace. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Norwegian Ebola victim free of virus
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
Society
Norwegian 'child bride' to marry in Oslo
Society
The fickle five: Meet the Nobel commitee
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
International
Norway best country for older people
Society
Queen Sonja of Norway's nephew jailed
National
Ex-Norway PM set to become head of Nobel
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
Society
Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
National
Photo: Baby cliff edge shocker in Norway
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
Culture
Britney to visit Norway for lingerie launch
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
Features
Meet Norway's raining kings of fashion
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

375
jobs available