Roy Mangersnes - Victime of ignorance
I met this young female Polar bear on the west coast of Svalbard a couple of weeks ago. I photographed it on three occasions during this week, and I found it the most happy Polar bear I have ever seen. It was in a perfect habitat with plenty of food to eat, good ice conditions and beautiful cold snow. She had been eating well the last week and were happy to was her energy on exploring the vast Arctic ice. Sometimes it was as if I could see her smile.
Only four days after I took this photograph, her curiosity brought her into the tent camp of a group of tourists. They were tenting on the bank of the fjord, without Polar bear watch and a faulty safety fence. She managed to get into one of the tents in the morning and surprised the people inside. She wasn’t hunting and only inflicted minor wounds to the tourist, but understandably they felt the need to protect themselves and fires their gun three times.
Frightened and wounded the 2,5 year old Polar bear ran into the sea to swim away from danger. Later in the morning she was found by the authorities and killed. One might argue that the people were in danger and only protected themselves. Yes I see that, but they should not have ended up in this situation in the first place. The Arctic is one of the most rewarding places on our planet but it can also be unforgiving for those who don’t come prepared.
The lack of knowledge, human ignorance and her own curiosity killed this beautiful animal.
Tags: Arctic, polar bear, roy mangersnes, svalbard