A polar bear incident in the EGRIP camp. – University of Copenhagen

02 June 2018

A polar bear incident in the EGRIP camp.

Saturday 2nd June 2018 (Extra report).

The following is a short version of a formal report already sent to Greenland authorities.

A polar bear was encountered at 3.15 in the morning by a crew member. The alarm was raised, and while watch was kept by an armed person from the top of the main dome, all camp personnel were picked up at their tents and weatherports.

By 3.25 all persons were accounted for, and present in the main dome.

At 4.15 two persons, a driver and a person carrying a second rifle, drive our Pistenbully (tracked vehicle) into position 50m from the container with kitchen waste, where the bear is busy. The container is 300 m from camp structures. The rifle person (a skilled hunter) fires one killing shot at the polar bear.

At 4.20 the bear is declared dead, and the alarm is lifted. Everybody in camp are well, albeit some somewhat shaken. Motivation for ordering the shooting of the bear: EGRIP is on the Greenland ice sheet, several hundred kilometers from any polar bear food source. Being on the ice sheet effectively prevents the polar bear from having any sustenance. The likelihood of the polar bear finding a way down from the ice sheet on its own, is almost zero as access/decent points are very few compared to the size of the ice sheet. Therefore, the bear was already doomed by being on the ice sheet. As EGRIP presented the only food source in several hundred kilometers range, the bear would have stayed in the vicinity of camp, and chasing it away would only be temporary. It would return.

In a similar encounter 7th July 2016, the Greenland authorities gave permission to shoot the bear and bury the animal. We have assumed the same permission is still valid, and shot the bear. We will follow the instructions given in 2016. The bear will be buried intact in an unknown place. And like in 2016, we have collected a tongue sample and a tooth, which will be sent to Greenland authorities.

FL, J.P. Steffensen.

← Previous entry