The Arctic is a travel destination that is attracting tourists. They come to enjoy a unique holiday among glaciers, reindeer, and polar bears. The sad incident of the shooting a polar bear happened when tourists of a German cruise ship wanted to land on the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. It seems a polar bear attacked one of the guards who had gone to check the surrounding area for safety. As a result, the other guard shot the animal dead.

New Zealand Herald reports that the incident has been condemned. On Twitter, the anger has come from across the world.

The shipping company has justified the killing and termed it as "an act of self-defense." However, the social media says the polar bear was killed with tourism in mind.

Polar bears are a protected species

Polar bears have been included in the category of protected species in Norway since 1973 and, as per a census of 2015, there are just 1000 of them on Svalbard. Hence, the death of one of these animals is a matter of concern. The cruise company has explained the procedure that it follows. It has been in this business for more than four decades and their staff is experienced and aware of the precautions they must take to ensure the safety of the tourists, especially against attacks by the polar bears.

Usually, the sighting of polar bears is done aboard ships, from a safe distance. If the tourists want to land, guards check the landing spot for the presence of the animals.

Until now, there have been five instances of fatal polar bear attacks on Svalbard during the last 40 years. The latest one was in 2011 when one of the animals attacked a group of people who were members of a trip organized by a British school.

The victim was a 17-year-old boy and along with him, four other members suffered injuries and the bear was killed.

It was an outrageous act

The image of the dead polar bear that appeared on social media and the circumstances that led to its killing has been severely criticized by Arctic wildlife tourism. According to The Guardian, the Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway have confirmed the incident.

Incidentally, Arctic tourism is gradually becoming more popular and gaining importance as tourists want a change of scenery. They are keen to enjoy their vacations among glaciers, reindeers, and polar bears. This demand has encouraged tour operators to explore the Arctic which is the new destination and, many more cruise ships are expected to arrive in the next weeks with more tourists.