• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Norwegian polar bear found starved to death

Richard Orange · 7 Aug 2013, 07:33

Published: 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." 
 
Story continues below…
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
Pilots and cabin crew won over Norwegian
The union Parat hailed the court's decision. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Court rules that Norwegian – and not one of its subsidiaries – should be considered workers' real employer.

Opinion
Fylleangst: Norwegian drinking culture's special term
'Oh god, what did I do last night?'. Photo: Scanpix

Guest columnist Jessica Alexander on alcohol consumption in Norway and the special word for that worried sensation you get after a night of boozing.

Norway’s asylum figures ‘down 95 percent’
A child plays at the Bjørnebekk asylum centre in Ås. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

New figures reveal lowest asylum numbers in 19 years.

Google teams up with Norway’s largest wind park
File photo: Kjell Herskedal/NTB Scanpix

Google has agreed to purchase the entire output of the Tellenes wind power park in Rogaland, where construction is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Norway’s royals apologize after old lady knocked over
The incident happened while King Harald and Queen Sonja were hiking in Bodø. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

The Royal Court has apologized for what witnesses say was "unnecessary and aggressive behaviour" that sent an elderly woman to the hospital.

Norway no longer world's best country: report
No longer number one, but still pretty darned good. Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB scanpix

Norway fell from first to seventh place in a new life quality report.

Brexit
Norway won't commit to UK joining EFTA
PM Erna Solberg was in Brussels on Tuesday to meet with other Conservative leaders. Photo: Johan Falnes / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday she has not concluded whether a British membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) would be good for Norway.

Mass brawl breaks out at Norway asylum centre
The Forus asylum centre in Stavanger. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB scanpix

A rejected asylum seeker was arrested early on Tuesday after a fight involving up to 20 people.

Brit held for throwing pie at Norway's equality minister
The woman accepted the court's judgement but denied having planned the pie attack. Photo: Erik Fosheim Brandsborg / NTB scanpix

A British woman will be held on remand for for weeks for attacking Norwegian Equality Minister Solveig Horne with a cream pie.

Brexit
Iceland president: Brexit is good news for Norway
Iceland president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, shown here in 2008. Photo: Kyrre Lien/NTB Scanpix

Iceland's long-time president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson says that Brexit can give Norway and other northern countries a more important role.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,022
jobs available