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Polar bear shot dead after 200-mile swim "another great day for mankind".

Von: Old Codger (oldcodger@anyoldwhere.net) [Profil]
Datum: 06.06.2008 13:44
Message-ID: <7k8i4411bnqf2p8tsepan4bsh8a5sge166@4ax.com>
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Polar bear shot dead after 200-mile swim

Allegra Stratton and agencies guardian.co.uk, Thursday June 5 2008
Article history


A polar bear that swam more than 200 miles in near-freezing waters to
reach Iceland was shot on arrival in case it posed a threat to humans.

The bear, thought to be the first to reach the country in at least 15
years, was killed after local police claimed it was a danger to
humans, triggering an outcry from animal lovers. Police claimed it was
not possible to sedate the bear.

The operation to kill the animal was captured on film.

The adult male, weighing 250kg, was presumed to have swum some 200
miles from Greenland, or from a distant chunk of Arctic ice, to
Skagafjordur in northern Iceland.

"There was fog up in the hills and we took the decision to kill the
bear before it could disappear into the fog," said the police
spokesman Petur Bjornsson.

Iceland's environment minister, Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, gave the
green light for police to shoot the bear because the correct
tranquiliser would have taken 24 hours to be flown in, the Icelandic
news channel Visir.is reported.

Sveinbjarnardottir's account was disputed by the chief vet in the town
of Blönduó, Egill Steingrímsson, who said he had the drugs necessary
to immobilise the bear in the boot of his car. "If the narcotics gun
would have been sent by plane, it would have arrived within an hour,"
he said. "They could keep tabs on the bear for that long."

Steingrímsson also criticised police for not closing a mountain road
where people congregated after hearing news of the bear. "There were
around 50 to 60 people there watching. The police did not have many
options when the bear ran down the hill, approaching the crowd,"
Steingrimsson said. "I'm very unsatisfied that the police did not try
to catch it alive and did not close the road."

The oldest record of polar bears being sighted in Iceland is from 890,
16 years after the first settlers arrived. The last visit was in 1993,
when sailors saw a bear swimming off the coast of Strandir. It was
also killed.

Polar bears were frequently tamed during the middle ages, but since
then no bear has been captured alive in Iceland. Receding North Pole
ice is diminishing their hunting and mating grounds and jeopardising
their survival.

A spokesman for PolarWorld, a German group dedicated to the
preservation of the polar regions and the creatures which inhabit it,
called the bear's death "an avoidable tragedy ... another great day
for mankind".

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