Polar Bear Alert Closes Campsite Skip to content

Polar Bear Alert Closes Campsite

A campsite at Jökulsárgljúfur, North Iceland was evacuated last night following the reported sighting of a polar bear in the area.

A Spanish tourist thought he had seen one of the deadly predators, which do not live in Iceland but very occasionally wash up on its shores, late yesterday evening.

National Park ranger Hjörleifur Finnsson told DV that the police were informed about the possible sighting and believed the best response was to empty the campsite as a precaution.

The campsite in question lies between Hólmatún and Vesturdalur and around ten people were camping there last night.

When police questioned the man further they came to the conclusion that he could not be considered a reliable witness—mostly because he was himself no longer certain that he had actually seen a polar bear.

The campsite is now open again and there is not believed to be any danger in the area.

The historical average is approximately one polar bear spotted in Iceland every two years since the country’s settlement over a thousand years ago—however, there are sometimes 15 years between sightings. Conversely, there were two sightings in 2009.

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