Polar Bear Shot and Killed After Attacking a Cruise Ship Guard

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The unnamed man in his 40s suffered head injuries shortly after landing on Spitzbergen island in Norway's Svalbard archipelago.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises released a statement on Sunday morning following a weekend incident that left a polar bear dead in Spitsbergen.

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.

A German cruise line is facing outrage after one of its employees shot and killed a wild polar bear that attacked one of his colleagues in Norway. They then set up a land station and check the area again to make sure that there are no polar bears in sight.

Critics lashed out at the tourists for travelling to a region with polar bears and then kill the animals when they become risky.

"He was attacked by a bear and bitten in the head", Ole Jakob Malmo, chief superintendent of Svalbard police, said.

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"There had to be intervention for reasons of self-defence and to protect the life of the attacked person", the company said.

The guard was injured during a trip to an island in Svalbard, which is located between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

The injured man was taken by helicopter to hospital. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

"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. In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change.

Another posted: "So - at a time when polar bears are hungry, when there is no sea ice, you put yourself in the middle of its dinner plate and are surprised by its reaction and shoot the bear?" If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales. "Customers need to start asking themselves if they feel good about a native bear being shot dead to enable their selfish intrusion into this handsome creature's home", wrote one upset poster.