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Another polar bear!!

I thought EPI was pulling my leg when he came home today and told me there was another polar bear on the loose up north. It’s been only 12 days since the last one, which as we all know was shot within a few hours of being discovered, generating a worldwide outcry. Consequently every attempt is now being made to capture this one alive. Experts from the zoo in Copenhagen are due to arrive around midday tomorrow and will try to tranquilize the bear and then capture it in order to transport it back to Greenland.

This polar bear is in a similar location as the last one and was discovered about 200 metres [!!! – 218 yards] from a farm, feeding on duck eggs at its leisure, smack in the middle of a protected nesting site for eider ducks. Having eaten its fill, it laid down for a snooze, and has been fairly relaxed all afternoon, just sort of hanging around in the general vicinity of the farmhouse, taking naps and such. It’s being kept under close surveillance by the county’s finest [happily the light nights make the job relatively easy] and the farmhouse residents will have to stay inside until tomorrow afternoon, powerless to stop Mr. Bear from chowing down on their ducks.

Meanwhile, the media reports that an older man in the area had a dream just before the first polar bear sighting that three polar bears came up on land. Obviously since polar bear sightings are pretty rare around here this premonition has attracted some attention, and now that the second bear has arrived in a relatively short time everyone’s just waiting for the third.

Another piece of trivia: both this bear and the last one were first sighted by little girls named Karen. The mother of the first Karen thought she simply had an overactive imagination and put no stock in her reports – until the bear was sighted by a farmer the next day. The Karen who spotted this bear, however, met no such disbelief. Incidentally, Karen is not a very common name in Iceland.

Anyway, it will be fascinating to see how things unfold tomorrow, whether they actually succeed in their mission to capture the bear alive. Apparently it’s a highly risky operation, since polar bears are not easily tranquilized and it can actually be fatal. Stay tuned!



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Abby June 17, 2008, 12:43 am

    I am polar bear challenged – thought Iceland was rife with the critters. Is tranquilizing a polar bear potentially fatal for the bear or the person doing the tranquilizing? I’m trying to imagine what would happen if a grizzly showed up in these parts. I’m hoping we would go the tranquilize-and-relocate route, but Hoosiers tend to panic over personal safety.

  • Rozanne June 17, 2008, 5:15 am

    I hope they can capture the bear and transport it safely back to where it belongs.

  • Keera June 17, 2008, 6:22 am

    Norway has a polar bear population on the island group of Svalbard. No polar bears come to the mainland. The bears can be tranquilized. They breed on land so I’m wondering what other land the polar bears arriving in Iceland are coming from and why they’ve left it. DNA, any one? Norwegian sea farmers are starting to use DNA to track the source of escaped farm fish. I’m sure someone’s taken blood samples of some polar bear populations. Or should do so.

  • mary June 17, 2008, 9:29 am

    Good luck with the bear!

  • hildigunnur June 17, 2008, 10:07 am

    I do hope they’ll transfer it back to Greenland, I don’t know which would be worse for the poor critter being shot to death or zoo in Copenhagen…

  • alda June 17, 2008, 11:20 am

    Abby – no, polar bears are very rare here. And apparently the operation can be fatal for the bear and of course for the person doing the tranquilizing – in the worst possible scenario.

    Rozanne – me too.

    Keera – they’re pretty certain they’re coming from Greenland. The Greenlandic ice is a relatively short distance away. There is speculation that the ice floes melt under them and they then set off swimming and end up here.

    mary – takk!

    hildigunnur – my thoughts exactly. I really do hope so, too.