Tourist guide fined $1500 for scaring polar bear in Norway

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
OSLO
Published 25.08.2017 16:06
Updated 25.08.2017 16:07
Two polar bear cubs follow their mother as they venture outside their enclosure for the first time since they were born at Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 (AP File Photo)
Two polar bear cubs follow their mother as they venture outside their enclosure for the first time since they were born at Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 (AP File Photo)

Usually it is the humans who are scared of wild animals. But in the Norwegian far-north, an Arctic tourist guide has been fined 1,300 euros ($1,500) for scaring off a polar bear.

When a group of tourists on a snowmobile expedition in May spotted a bear standing still, 900 meters (2,950 ft) away, their guide decided to approach the predator to take a closer look.

The animal, spotted on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, fled the scene.

"The regulations say that it is forbidden to approach polar bears in such a way that they are disturbed, regardless of the distance," the Svalbard governor's office said in a statement.

Located 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the North Pole and twice the size of Belgium, Svalbard is, according to 2015 state figures, home to nearly 1,000 polar bears, a protected species since 1973.

Five deadly attacks on people have been recorded in about 40 years.

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