A Failed Rescue Attempt Skip to content

A Failed Rescue Attempt

Minister of the Environment Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir said that the moment she heard of the polar bear in Skagafjardartá, she knew that this time everything would be done to keep the bear alive.

“We knew that everything had to go according to plan if we were to catch it alive. As we have seen, it’s not easy to catch to the animal and anesthetize it,” Sveinbjarnardóttir told Morgunbladid.

Sveinbjarnardóttir was very pleased with all the support but that she would have liked a different outcome. When asked if it was worth it to call in an expert from Denmark, fly him in by helicopter and call out a coast guard ship to sail with the bear to Greenland she replied, “We have an obligation towards that animal. These are endangered animals, but according to Icelandic law we are allowed to kill it if it threatens humans or cattle. It would have been best to get the animal back to its natural habitat, but we knew the whole time that it would be a very complicated operation [to catch the bear alive] and if something went wrong, it would simply be over,” said Sveinbjarnardóttir.

According to Sveinbjarnardóttir, the Icelandic government is thinking about buying proper equipment to catch polar bears. She also stressed that the current conditions in the waters north of Iceland must be examined to see if there are more bears on drifting icebergs.

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