© Brutus Ostling/WWF-Canon

WWF Arctic Programme statement in response to deaths in Svalbard

28 August 2020

Polar bear Norway Wildlife Communities

Melanie Lancaster, Senior Specialist, Arctic species, WWF Arctic Programme, states the following:

WWF is deeply saddened to hear that a person was killed by a polar bear at a campsite near Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The polar bear was also killed in this incident of conflict. The authorities are investigating.

We don’t know what prompted the polar bear attack and are awaiting the findings from authorities. The latest updates from the Governor of Svalbard can be found on their website and social media.

In the past couple of years, there have been several reports of incidents between tourists and bears in Svalbard.

The Norwegian Polar Institute monitors the Svalbard polar bear population annually. This research is supported by WWF. The Svalbard polar bear population is around 1,000 animals.

WWF works with governments and local communities across the Arctic to keep people and bears safe by implementing measures to avoid polar bear attacks as much as possible.