Polar bear danger as tourists flock to Svalbard for eclipse

There are potential dangers of a camping trip to Norway’s remote Arctic
Outer parts of Scandinavia are seeing a sudden tourism boom this week. Danes are streaming to the Faroes and Norwegians have headed to Svalbard to witness a total solar eclipse taking place this morning. Thousands of tourists have joined them, while others are content with witnessing a partial eclipse at home.
But the potential dangers of a camping trip to Norway’s remote Arctic regions were revealed again this week when a Czech tourist was mauled by a polar bear. The attack took place late on Wednesday night.
“We were sleeping in the tent, and when I woke up the polar bear was standing on top of me,” Jakub Moravec, aged 37, told state-owned broadcaster NRK from his hospital bed. “It went straight to my head. Luckily my colleague shot it.”
Another Czech, Zuzanna Hakova, said her mother grabbed a revolver and shot the bear three times.
“We woke to shouts of ‘Bear! Bear!’ coming from the second tent,” she told NRK. “We had a rifle on the outside of each tent and we also had a revolver in our tent. The ones being attacked had no chance of getting their weapons, so my mother took her revolver and shot the bear.”
They were part of a group of six campers who travelled to the islands for the eclipse. The victim is being treated for injuries to his face and arm. Up to 2,000 tourists from around the world are in Svalbard for the event. Around 3,000 polar bears live in archipelago, outnumbering the 2,500 inhabitants.
The Local / AFP
[pictured: Upper part of Longyeardalen; photo courtesy Hylgeriak/Wikipedia]