Outrage after cruise guard shoots polar bear

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According to Danielsen, it is unknown who shot and killed the polar bear or if the injured person is a part of the tourist group or the crew on the ship.

The incident occurred during a 10-day cruise on the MS Bremen, a ship that holds up to 155 passengers. All ships in the area are required to have guards to protect passengers from polar bears as they sightsee.

The bear was shot by another employee of the ship, the MS Brennan, "in an act of self-defense", a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises told The Associated Press.

The man who was attacked did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

The injured man was airlifted to a hospital in the town of Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen island. His identity was not released.

A polar bear was shot and killed in Norway after attacking a polar bear guard.

All cruise ships sailing in the region were obliged to have polar bear guards aboard, Etminan said.

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"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when traveling in environmentally sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife", the company statement said.

Usually "as soon as an animal approaches, the landing stops immediately", Krause added. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

That's what makes the shooting and killing of a polar bear in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, within the Arctic Circle, all the more infuriating. "When there's only 25,000 polar bears left on the planet, every one matters".

No tourists had disembarked, Krause said, but four armed guards got off the vessel to inspect and secure the shore.

This was not the first time a polar bear attack took place in Norway. Polar bears are also facing extinction due to global warming.

Polar bear behaviour has changed in recent years as a result of increasing human encroachment on their territory, and a British student was killed by one during a field trip in 2011.

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