Man Dragged From Tent And Killed By Polar Bear In Norway
Johan Jacobus Kootte, a 38-year-old Dutch citizen, was camping near Longyearbyen in the Arctic Spitsbergen island when the bear tore him from his tent at around 4am on Friday.
Johan - who was working his second season at the campsite - was still alive when rescuers arrived and shot at the bear, but first aid and resuscitation attempts were unable to prevent him from dying shortly afterwards. The animal was later found dead near a local airport and will be autopsied.
Six other people were camping at the site but were unscathed in the attack.
In a joint-statement shared with Norwegian newspaper Svalbardposten, they said: "We now need peace and that we are allowed to mourn our friend who is dead.
"We would like to thank the people of Longyearbyen and the Governor for their efforts and support during this difficult day."
The bear was a three-year-old whose mother had been airlifted with her cub away from Longyearbyen on Monday 24 August. However, this is not believed to be linked to the attack as polar bears can fend for themselves once they reach the age of two.
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That said, the team that relocated the mum and cub did have to usher the bear away from Longyearbyen with their helicopter two days later after he broke into cabins near the city.
Terje Carlsen, a spokesman for the governor of Svalbard, told the BBC: "This is polar bear country, you have to be alert."
This is the sixth fatal polar bear attack in the Svalbard archipelago in the past 50 years. The most recent was in 2011, when 17-year-old British student Horatio Chapple was killed during an expedition, with four others injured.
There is around one polar bear to every three people in the archipelago, according to Norwegian authorities, and increasing tourism and scientific research in the area has brought bears and people into increasingly close proximity on the islands.
Furthermore, experts have warned that climate change is melting the Arctic ice sheets polar bears rely on for hunting, and their subsequent hunger is forcing them into populated areas to forage for food.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Johan Jacobus Kootte
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