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Russian scientist shoots and kills polar bear in Norway

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Russian scientist shoots and kills polar bear in Norway
It is not illegal to shoot a polar bear if it is "a last resort". Photo: Sysselmannen på Svalbard / NTB scanpix
13:47 CEST+02:00
A Russian scientist has shot and killed a polar bear at Selvågen on the island of Prins Karls Forland in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
Svalbardposten reported that the course of events is unclear but that the bear was likely shot as it approached a tent camp belonging to a group of Russian scientists on Tuesday night. 
 
The local governor was notified of the incident on Wednesday morning.
 
“We are investigating the incident and will speak to those involved,” assistant governor Berit Sagfossen told broadcaster NRK.
 
The killed animal was a two year old female bear weighing 155 kg which had been marked for research by the Norwegian Polar Institute.
 
According to Svalbardposten, this is the fourth polar bear shot thus far this year. 
 
Earlier this month, a hunter who shot and killed a female polar bear in June was fined 20,000 kroner for “acting carelessly”. The bear's cub was put down after local officials ruled it “had no chance to survive without the mother”.
 
Guidelines from the Norwegian Polar Institute state that although “baiting, pursuing or actively seeking polar bears” is illegal in Svalbard, aggressive bears should be shot “with the aim to kill” as “a last resort”. 
 
Anybody who shoots a polar bear is required to contact the governor of Svalbard immediately after the incident. 
 
The Norwegian Environment Agency estimates that there are as few as 20,000 polar bears left in the world. 
 
 
 
 
 
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