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Another polar bear casualty

Well, the polar bear that was discovered roaming around up north yesterday and which they were hoping to capture alive was shot and killed this afternoon.

According to reports, the Danish experts from the Copenhagen zoo who arrived around midday were unable to get close enough to the bear to shoot it with tranquilizers. Apparently it became frightened and ran towards the seashore, so according to the police chief in the area “we had no choice but to shoot it”. [Don’t quite get the connection there – but hey, what do I know.]

Apparently it was a female bear, fairly old, and injured on both front paws. Which supports the hunch I had yesterday … I thought it was pretty suspicious that the animal kept taking naps all the time. Sure, maybe it had swum a long distance, but still. It just didn’t seem right. Also, it was very emaciated and, according to the Danish expert, would probably not have been able to tolerate the tranquilizers.

Anyway, it’s sad that it turned out this way. The thought of being able to rescue the bear and transport it back to its natural habitat was elating, but as our Minister for the Environment said [who actually interrupted her summer holiday to fly home due to this event] it was a risky operation. A lot of things would have had to come together for it to be a success, and unfortunately they did not.

On another note, I’m now starting to have serious reservations about our hiking trip up in that area next month. When the first bear was sighted EPI and I joked about the possibility of encountering a polar bear during our hike – but now that the second one has been sighted, it no longer seems to warrant that kind of flippancy. Particularly as experts say that it’s not unlikely that there will be more. [Yikes!]

Meanwhile, this whole episode starring the polar bear has completely superseded any reports of our National Day celebrations … yes, today is 17. júní, our National Day, and in lieu of a proper post about the occasion, I’ll simply defer to the ones I’ve written in the past, that I’m sure are still quite relevant: here and here and here.

THOUGH I CAN TELL YOU THAT IT’S SUNNY
And consequently fine weather for a National Day outing. The afternoon celebrations are mostly focused on families with small children, with lots of play equipment, bands, puppet theatre, that sort of thing. The evening belongs to adolescents and older, although sadly it also tends to turn into a bit of a drunkfest for the younger teenagers. We may head into town this evening; EPI’s sister always celebrates her birthday on this day so we spent most of the afternoon at her place and we’ll see how much energy we have left later on to go watch the revelers downtown. Although my fave Nicelandic band is playing on Arnarhóll hill at some point this evening [there are bands playing all over, all evening] so we may take a stroll down to see if we can catch them. There’s a bit of a pesky wind, like we’ve had all week; currently 15°C [57F], sunrise this morning was at 2.56 am and sunset due for 12.01 tomorrow morning.

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  • mary June 17, 2008, 9:45 pm

    So sorry about the bear.
    Enjoy your national day!

  • Jon June 17, 2008, 10:05 pm

    At least they made a sincere effort to do something good. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I would think the possibility of seeing one on a hike would be pretty exciting, but maybe a little scary.

  • Timbo June 18, 2008, 1:20 am

    Happy National Day! And unhappy Dead Polar Bear Day!
    Which day is better eh?

    Ps. Lovin the redesign, which you probably redesigned ages ago (showing my shitness here… time to shut up…) but anyhoo, just thought you’d like to know. I care about these things for some reason.

  • hildigunnur June 18, 2008, 8:42 am

    Apparently there wasn’t really any drunkfestival downtown last night, suppose all the wild ones are in Akureyri on those infamous car days…

  • alda June 18, 2008, 10:41 am

    mary – thank you!

    Jon – I think seeing one on a hike would be more than a LITTLE scary. Especially considering that they can run 100 metres [just over 100 yds] in six seconds!! And they tend to be HUNGRY.

    Timbo – thank you and thank you. 🙁 – and ps. I’m glad you care.

    hidigunnur – my 17-y.o. tells me that the evening before 17 júní is now the real party evening. What do I know? I was too lazy to even go downtown last night, opting for flopping out on the couch watching a movie. How sad am I?

  • hildigunnur June 18, 2008, 4:30 pm

    Well, that’s logical, of course, since day after is a holiday.

    I sometimes say my son’s really lucky, his birthday’s always on a saturday (April 30th)

    In spite of there not being party night, last night, my 16 yr old couldn’t sleep, some guys had fallen asleep in their car right outside her window – with their car stereo blasting…

  • JoeInVegas June 18, 2008, 6:29 pm

    Yes, be careful, after all there is supposed to be a third one out there.
    Us? Unusually warm here, supposed to be 109f again. Oh well, not even summer yet. (no, I will not trade)

  • alda June 18, 2008, 7:41 pm

    Hildigunnur – I guess it’s one of the ‘perks’ of living in 101. :-/

    Joe – I know, I’m staying down south until that third one shows up!

  • Rozanne June 19, 2008, 5:08 am

    Poor bear. But it sounds like the powers-that-be went out of their way to try to save the bear. Human intervention can only do so much.

    I hope you don’t cancel your hiking trip! I don’t know much about polar bear behavior, but other bears (unless they’ve been habituated to humans) steer clear of humans. Yes. Bear attacks do occur but they are rare, and a significant number are the result of human stupidity. I’m going to guess that even if another bear were to arrive, you still wouldn’t be much at risk. Not that I’m an expert or anything.

  • Annoyed by anonhating June 19, 2008, 5:41 am

    It’s the global cooling, I say. More ice -> more lazy bears.

    And more to the Karen thing: one person commenting on islaendisch.blog.de was one Karen from Germany …

  • alda June 19, 2008, 9:42 am

    Rozanne – I dunno. It may be that bears steer clear of people, but ravenous polar bears that have swum for long distances? Maybe not so much. At least I wouldn’t want to risk it.

    The oh-so aptly named ‘Annonyed’ (or should that be ‘annoying’? from Bergisch-Gladbach – start leaving intelligent comments or we’ll block you entirely. You’ve been warned.