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"The man was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head", according to a statement by German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which operates the cruise ship.

The Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway tweeted this weekend to confirm that the worker had been injured by a polar bear at Sjuøyane, which is north of Svalbard.

The polar bear which was shot by a cruise ship guard after it attacked a fellow employee in Spitsbergen, Norway.

The unidentified man suffered unspecified injuries to his head, but they were not life-threatening and he was in stable condition shortly after the attack. He was flown out to Longyearbyen and is undergoing medical treatment.

Tourism in the area has increased dramatically in the last number of years and is now in high season. It was not clear who shot the bear.

Svalbard is mostly ice - and on the islands, polar bears are thought to outnumber people, the BBC reported.




According to the cruise company, all ships travelling in the northern region are required to employ polar bear guards to protect passengers on sightseeing tours.

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", said Negar Etminan, a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd.

She said all cruise ships traveling in the northern region are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

The statement explains that in preparing to take a group of visitors ashore in Spitzbergen - a Norwegian archipelago - an advance group of polar guards are sent ashore without passengers.

The cruise liner operating "MS Bremen" is Hapag Lloyd Cruises. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately". "The polar bear distribution is strongly related to the distribution of sea ice", it added. In 2008 polar bears were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change. "Horribly, horribly wrong", one Twitter user wrote.

Rising temperature have forced polar bears out of their natural icy habitats and closer to human settlements, reducing their fear of humans.


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