Greenland’s ‘problematic’ polar bear could be shot.
After multiple close encounters, including one in which it bit the fingers of a documentary crew member, a polar bear in Greenland may be shot dead the next time it endangers people, authorities warned.
The attack on the documentary crew near an army installation occurs as the independent Danish Arctic territory endures a record heat wave, prompting polar bears to migrate deeper in search of food.
The bear popped his head through a poorly closed window of a research station where the documentary team was staying approximately 400 meters from the little base of Daneborg early on Monday, since the sun does not set in summer at this latitude.
The bear bit one of the three male team members’ hand before they used warning guns to compel the animal to depart, according to a Danish Artic military unit headquartered in Greenland.
After being transported to Daneborg, the injured documentary maker had to be airlifted to Akureyri, Iceland.
The bear, who had previously been blamed for five incidents, reappeared later in the morning and then again overnight Monday to Tuesday, breaking a window of the research station before departing.
“The bear has now been classified as ‘problematic’ by the local authorities, allowing it to be shot dead if it returns,” the Danish military unit said.
The occurrence occurs during a hot wave in Greenland’s northeast, with a new record high temperature of 23.4 degrees Celsius (74.2 Fahrenheit).
According to experts, the retreat of the ice pack, the polar bear’s hunting territory, leads them to stay on land more regularly, making it more difficult for them to locate food and support a species that is already deemed vulnerable.
Although still uncommon, bear-human contacts are on the rise as bears increasingly enter populated areas in search of food, according to environmental protection officers.
Polar bears could become extinct by 2100, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change in July 2020. They now have a population of roughly 25,000 people.