Polar bear shot dead after killing man at Norwegian Svalbard campsite

A man has been killed by a polar bear after it attacked a campsite in the remote Svalbard Islands, authorities on the Norwegian archipelago said.

It is thought the animal attacked the site early on Friday morning but no one else was injured.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to hospital in Longyearbyen where he was declared dead, deputy governor Soelvi Elvedah said.

Six other people were treated in hospital for shock.

Longyearbyen is the main settlement in Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago, which sits more than 800km (500 miles) north of the Norwegian mainland.

The polar bear was found dead in a car park close to the nearby airport after being shot by onlookers, the governor’s office said in a statement on its website.

The website says bears may appear anywhere on Svalbard and urges people “to stay as far away as possible to avoid situations that could be dangerous for you and for the bear”.

There are warnings across the islands about the dangers of polar bears.

Visitors who choose to sleep outdoors are advised that they must carry firearms to protect themselves when in more remote areas.

Norwegian public broadcaster NRK said the victim was the fifth person to have been killed by polar bears since 1971. The last death was in 2011 when a teenager was killed.

In 2015, a polar bear dragged a Czech tourist out of his tent as he and others were camping north of Longyearbyen, clawing his back before being driven away by gunshots.

The tourist, who was slightly injured, was among a group of six people on a combined ski and snow scooter trip on the remote islands. The bear was eventually found and killed by local authorities.

An estimated 20,000-25,000 bears live in the Arctic but they are critically endangered.

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