Criminal charges dropped in case of polar bear shot by cruise ship guards in 2018

From Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

Posted on September 5, 2020 |

Criminal charges dropped in case of polar bear shot by cruise ship guards in 2018

The guards from a cruise ship who shot an emaciated bear in self-defense in late July 2018 on the remote island of Phippsøya in northern Svalbard have had criminal charges against them dropped. It is illegal to kill polar bears in Norway, so the death of the bear automatically triggered a criminal investigation.

Polar bear shot in self defense on the island of Phippsøya in the Sjuoyene group north of Spitzbergen 28 July 2018 by guards from a cruise ship, photo courtesy Govenor of Svalbard.

This case, which made international headlines and sparked outrage at the time, also saw charges laid against the cruise ship that employed the guards. However, all charges against the company have also been dropped. See below for details on the decision and my post about the incident in 2018. No information on the condition of the bear was included in the statement about criminal charges.

Phippsøya is part of the Sjuoyene island group in northern Svalbard.

Here is the report from the Govenor of Svalbard (4 September 2020), courtesy Google Translate:

The first public prosecutor at Troms and Finnmark public prosecutor’s offices has dropped the criminal cases against the polar bear guards who shot and killed a polar bear on Phippsøya in July 2018 and against the company.

– The cases against the polar bear guards who shot and killed the polar bear have been dropped due to emergency law. This means that the act is punishable, but is considered legal because it was taken to save the life of the man who was attacked by the bear, says assistant governor Sølvi Elvedahl.

-In the case of the company, the Public Prosecutor has also not found that the conditions for punishment are present. The case against the company is therefore left to the position of the evidence, she states.

The incident happened on Saturday 28 July 2018 when four polar bear guards, an expedition leader, a photographer and a number of other crew members – a total of 14 people, from the tourist ship “Bremen” were put ashore with two zodiac boats in Isflakbukta on Phippsøya.

The polar bear guards went ashore first. Shortly after disembarking, the first two polar bear guards were sent out into the terrain to check for polar bears on the other side of a bank. The area was visible and appeared clear. However, it turned out that a polar bear was staying in a dump, so it was not visible from the boat or the beach. One polar bear guard went after the bear, who in cash attacked him.

The polar bear guard suffered head injuries after the attack, but survived. The polar bear was first shot at with frightening agents without reacting visibly to this, and without wanting to end the attack on the polar bear guard. Then three shots were fired that killed the polar bear.
– The case was documented with photos from the photographer who was involved, and the prosecution thus got a good overview of the incident, says Sølvi Elvedahl.

Criminal cases were opened against the two who shot at the polar bear and killed it – which follows from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, where it is a criminal offense to kill a polar bear.

A case was also opened against the company. The investigation focused on, among other things, whether the company had routines that properly mapped hazards and problems, as well as the company’s measures with regard to procedures for polar bears and polar bear protection.

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WR2
September 6, 2020 10:07 pm

Those polar bears must have had outstanding attorneys to drag it out that long. Polar bears in Norway have more rights than police in USA.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  WR2
September 6, 2020 11:58 pm

Polar bear lives matter!

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 7, 2020 12:12 am

more than humans?

you first Zig-ster. maybe you can sate its appetite.

Jones
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
September 7, 2020 3:29 am

I don’t mean to step on a land-mine here Joel but I’m fairly sure Zig was being sarcastic……

Just so you know I am on both your sides in principle, I agree that human lives matter more in extremis.

commieBob
Reply to  WR2
September 7, 2020 6:14 am

It’s somewhat the same in Canada. Even back in the day I joked that, if you had to ki11 a polar bear in self defence, you’d better leave powder burns.

In many jurisdictions the law allows the seizure of anything involved in illegally taking game. Could that include your truck, your freezer, your house? Wildlife regulations are pretty draconian and you have far fewer protections than you would have in criminal court.

mark from the midwest
Reply to  commieBob
September 7, 2020 7:41 am

Technically: If a Bald Eagle is struck by your car it’s a felony in many states, as well as a Federal Crime. That happened up here early this past spring and the guy had to go to 2 Federal and 3 states hearings before a wildlife officer could be forced to state “there was probably no intent to kill the bird…”

Editor
Reply to  WR2
September 7, 2020 2:57 pm
tty
Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 8, 2020 3:27 pm

You don´t want Polar Bears in a sheep-farming country.

TomB
September 6, 2020 10:13 pm

Animal attacks human. Human teaches animal who is the real top tier predator on the planet. What’s the problem?

David A
September 6, 2020 11:00 pm

If the polar bear was black those men would be in jail.

Redge
Reply to  David A
September 6, 2020 11:26 pm

Polar bears are black, it’s just their fur that appears to be white

Greg
Reply to  Redge
September 6, 2020 11:52 pm

Good point, they’re black on the inside, like any good democrat. If they don’t vote for Biden, they ain’t polar bears.

It’s insane that it took two years to drop charges in what was very obviously self defence.

It’s well gone time to reintroduce hunting permits for polar bears, there are now too many of them.

Redge
Reply to  Greg
September 7, 2020 12:15 am

It’s insane that it took two years to drop charges in what was very obviously self defence.

Agreed.

It’s well gone time to reintroduce hunting permits for polar bears, there are now too many of them.

Or just stop tourists going to areas inhabited by polar bears. If you think about it, we’re encroaching on their habitat, not the other way round.

On the other hand, polar bears don’t get their 5-a-day of vegetables, so maybe encourage greens to the area would be humane thing to do.

brians356
Reply to  Greg
September 7, 2020 12:37 am

Hunting permits for feral horses in the Great Basin, please.

Dave Fair
Reply to  brians356
September 7, 2020 1:31 am

+42^42 for hunting permits for feral horses in the Great Basin, brians356. Anyway, it was euthanasia for the emaciated polar bear. It should be a normal practice.

MarkW
Reply to  Greg
September 7, 2020 5:10 pm

It’s not just insane, it should be criminal.

Joel O’Bryan
September 6, 2020 11:16 pm

I’m okay with this.
Armed guard doing his job.

rah
September 6, 2020 11:19 pm

Insanity rules everywhere these days it seems.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  rah
September 7, 2020 4:13 am

Right on, ……… to wit:

12-year-old suspended after teacher spots toy gun during virtual class

A 12-year-old boy in Colorado got a five-day suspension for flashing a toy gun across his computer screen during an online art class, according to a report.
https://www.foxnews.com/us/12-year-old-suspended-after-teacher-spots-toy-gun-during-virtual-class

n.n
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 7, 2020 12:00 pm

At least mom and dad weren’t arrested for child endangerment. That some kind of improvement. Baby steps.

philincalifornia
Reply to  n.n
September 7, 2020 1:55 pm
MarkW
Reply to  philincalifornia
September 7, 2020 5:12 pm

My guess is that someone has been talking about the pope behind his back.

MarkW
Reply to  n.n
September 7, 2020 5:11 pm

Don’t speak too soon. The district did send two cops to the boys home for a welfare check.

Greg
September 7, 2020 12:09 am

“Error 404 2Oops, the page you were looking for is no longer here.”

TVNZ seem to have pulled the article. In fact the link suggests that it was an article critical of “morons” condemning the shooting. Probably not PC in NZ and got pulled.

Reply to  Greg
September 7, 2020 6:36 am

Archive.org has a copy of the deleted TVNZ article, here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20180730114925/https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/morons-outrage-over-polar-bear-shot-and-killed-cruise-company-guard

Here’s a working link for the Business Insider article:
https://www.businessinsider.com/cruise-line-worker-kills-polar-bear-sparking-public-outrage-2018-7

The man who was attacked by the bear was seriously injured, and had to be medivaced by helicopter to a hospital. It astonishes me that, under such circumstances, even in liberal Norway, the authorities were crazy enough to file charges against the two men who saved that man’s life.

griff
September 7, 2020 12:37 am

This article gives details of how polar bears in Svalbard are suffering from climate change.

https://svalbardi.com/blogs/news/how-many-polar-bears-are-in-svalbard

In much of the last decade the ice edge has retreated quickly a long way north of Svalbard, as it has done this year. This makes it very difficult for bears on the ice to reach denning areas in Svalbard and surrounding islands.

Barents sea ice is in serious decline also

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 1:17 am

You are brain dead there griff.
There are always going to be starving PB’s in the wild just as there are going to be homeless, hungry humans in wealthy cities. See for example: San Francisco, aka Libtard Central.
Apparently you think one photographed individual is indicative of the entire population.

Statistical tail distributions of populations eludes your brain Griff. Emotions rule your world, not logic.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 7, 2020 1:28 am

Griff seems not to understand that starvation is the fate of ALL apex predators lucky enough to survive into old age.

Newminster
Reply to  Graemethecat
September 7, 2020 3:54 am

He also seems to be unaware that polar bears can swim. And do. Frequently. And sometimes for long distances.

Robert Turner
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 7, 2020 5:36 am

Oh I miss the thumbs up ability for posts like this.

Graemethecat
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 1:25 am

How did Polar Bears survive the warm periods optima since the last Ice Age, when the Arctic was ice-free in Summer?

MarkW
Reply to  Graemethecat
September 7, 2020 11:19 am

They didn’t. Captain Kirk went back and brought forward a breeding population so that an alien craft wouldn’t destroy the planet.

BobM
Reply to  MarkW
September 7, 2020 6:46 pm

Yeah. He did that for whales, too. Wherever would we be without him.

Latitude
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 6:04 am

Almost all polar bears carry trichinella…..that gives them chronic wasting disease

LdB
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 6:11 am

Wow 270 bears then a couple of good hunting parties should save the bears from climate change and solve the problem.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 8:47 am

griff
Thanks for the reminder. Have you ever apologized to Susan for saying she wasn’t a scientist?

Rotor
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 10:00 am

you don’t need biologists in the Artic counting bears.
Just listen to the Inuit. They have been telling people they are up to their ass’ in polar bears for years.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 11:18 am

They are suffering so much that numbers are expanding and the bears are getting fatter.

There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence supporting the belief that Polar Bears need sea ice to survive.
If fact they survived quite well 10,000 years ago when world wide temperatures were 3 to 5C warmer than they are today.

tty
Reply to  MarkW
September 8, 2020 3:42 pm

They do need sea ice during late winter-spring when they hunt seals. Not the rest of the year.

And there were Polar Bears on Svalbard during the previous interglacial when the Arctic was 5-10 degrees warmer than now.

fred250
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 3:51 pm

AGAIN with the LIES from Griff.

Sea ice left Svalbard around August 1st this year

The following years were also free of sea ice by August 1.

1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018..

This FACT has been deliberately and deceitfully ignored by griff, just so it can push its lies and deceits.

There is NOTHING unusual about the sea ice this year, except that its still far above the 10,000 year norm.

Graemethecat
Reply to  fred250
September 8, 2020 4:06 am

Waiting for a reply from Griff.

……Crickets….

tty
Reply to  fred250
September 8, 2020 3:44 pm

“The following years were also free of sea ice by August 1.”

Also at least in 1898, 1930 and 1936-39.

fred250
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 3:56 pm

“Barents sea ice is in serious decline also”

Another LIE.

For most of the year it was above the 15 year average.

And still FAR above the 10,000 year normal

fred250
Reply to  griff
September 7, 2020 3:59 pm

No bears left from when there was no sea ice around Svalbard even in summer in 1922.

Such a pity..

…. that you are such a liar. !!

tty
Reply to  griff
September 8, 2020 3:38 pm

“In much of the last decade the ice edge has retreated quickly a long way north of Svalbard, as it has done this year.”

Just like it did in the 1930’s. Incidentally the ice didn’t melt until late August, which is hardly “quickly”.

By the way, polar bears also den on the sea-ice.

ivor ward
September 7, 2020 2:02 am

“However, it turned out that a polar bear was staying in a dump, so it was not visible from the boat or the beach.”

Reference to a “dump” must mean there was human habitation nearby. Perhaps cleaning up the dumps would be a good idea for bears and humans.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  ivor ward
September 7, 2020 4:19 am

ivor ward, …… and just where do they dump the trash after cleaning up that trash?

starzmom
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 7, 2020 5:22 am

They could do what New York City does, and put it on a barge or other transport and send it someplace else. Probably a good idea in such a remote and wild place anyway.

MarkW
Reply to  starzmom
September 7, 2020 11:20 am

Are you going to pay for the barges?

The Dark Lord
Reply to  starzmom
September 7, 2020 8:36 pm

so send it to SOME OTHER remote location ? thats your idea ?

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 7, 2020 5:36 am

Burn it.

Robert W. Turner
September 7, 2020 5:39 am

I don’t really understand the appeal of taking an Arctic cruise in the first place. Is it just for the casino?

rah
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
September 7, 2020 6:56 am

No! With global warming they can sit on the promenade in loungers wearing their bathing suits and working on their tans while stewards in shorts serve them Pina Coladas while watching the starving polar bears.

Climate believer
September 7, 2020 6:03 am

September 2007 sea ice extent was 4.28 million km² (1.65 million mi²)
September 2010 sea ice extent was 4.60 million km² (1.78 million mi²)
September 2012 sea ice extent was 3.41 million km² (1.32 million mi²)
September 2015 sea ice extent was 4.41 million km² (1.70 million mi²)
September 2019 sea ice extent was 4.15 million km² (1.60 million mi²)

…up…down…up….down…..up?

Last report from NSIDC on September 1st sea ice extent was 4.26 million km² (1.64 million mi²) pretty much the same as it was 13 years ago, more than last year and a lot more than it was 8 years ago.

Of course climate alarmists are generally very quiet around March when the sea ice is at it’s maximum, this year, March 2020 sea ice maximum was about 15.05 million km² (5.81 million mi²). For comparison 15.64 million km² (6.04 million mi²) is the 1981 to 2010 average.

March is a rather important time of year because it’s when the female bears and their cubs come out of their dens, hunting begins in earnest, and nursing continues for the next 3 months. A rather more important time of year I would argue than September in terms of the survival of the species, and this year they had plenty of ice, with plenty of hunting opportunities.

Mating generally occurs during this period as well, late March to May, when there’s plenty of food, and there is still plenty of ice around to go get a girlfriend, especially if you can smell her 100 km away.

Polar bears have “delayed implantation” of fertilised eggs, allowing the females time to fatten up before retiring to a den for the 4 month gestation period, which they do normally around the end of autumn October/November, not in September.

Svalbard and the islands of the group, range from 74° to 81° north latitude. The distance between degrees of latitude here is about 111 km or 69 miles.
Last year around the end of October the area from 82°N to the North Pole was completely covered by ice, with major sea ice extensions down to 78°N, notably around Svalbard, a major denning region.
To the south, the sea ice extended to Spitzbergen, Franz Josef Land (also many dens) and Severnaya Zemlya where it also reached the Russian mainland.

Just to add a little understated fact, adult bears are very powerful swimmers and can spend days at a time in the water and travel very long distances at sea, it is after all a Marine Mammal.

Getting back to the ice, March 2020 ice extent was the highest since 2013, the average temperature for March was -16.2°C which is 0.5 degrees under the normal, and ice had been seen all the way to Bear Island, the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, 240 km south of the main island.

It was also reported that the waters east of Svalbard in the Barents Sea had seen more southern ice extent than in previous years. In Russian waters, the entire Kara Sea was ice-covered, with ice stretching as far south as the Pechora Sea south of the Vaygach island.

ScienceABC123
September 7, 2020 6:21 am

When it takes a long time (over two years here) for a prosecutor to drop charges, the process is being used as the punishment.

Fresh
Reply to  ScienceABC123
September 7, 2020 8:07 am

Exactly, the new meme of 2020, you shall be viciously attacked for defending yourself.

Sounds quite Marxist to me.

Anonymoose
September 7, 2020 9:33 am

“No information on the condition of the bear was included in the statement about criminal charges.”

The bear is still dead.

Pat from kerbob
September 7, 2020 10:09 am

I believe “South Park” provided the “it’s coming right at me” defense for these situations

MarkW
September 7, 2020 5:13 pm

My guess is that someone has been talking about the pope behind his back.

Zane
September 7, 2020 6:50 pm

Bears will be bears.

ResourceGuy
September 8, 2020 6:43 am

Criminally stupid eco tourists should be charged.

tty
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 8, 2020 3:55 pm

Usually you keep a very good lookout for Polar Bears when in Svalbard. They are usually easy to spot, however in this case the bear was apparently lying in ambush. This is not typical behavior, but apparently it was old and starving. Most bears you see in summer are fat and fortunately not particularly hungry, though if they get a chance for an easy meal they will probably take it.

Note that it was actually one of the guards that were scouting the area, not one of the tourists, that was attacked.

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