Search for Polar Bear Called Off, Zoologist Questions Sighting Skip to content

Search for Polar Bear Called Off, Zoologist Questions Sighting

The search for the polar bear reportedly seen in north Iceland has been called off.


A Coast Guard helicopter. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

A two-hour search of Húnaflói Bay was carried out by the Coast Guard helicopter earlier today, reports.

The animal has not been spotted since it was reportedly sighted by tourists on Wednesday.

Zoologist Karl Skírnisson told that he has serious doubts about the sighting of a polar bear in the bay.

Karl has studied the polar bears which have come to Iceland, and were subsequently killed, in recent years.

According to Karl, it seems more likely that the animal was a seal. “I have often seen seals raise their heads up out of the water to see what is going on at shore. I’m not saying that polar bears can’t raise themselves out of the water like that but it’s not a natural position. Usually, you only see their head,” Karl said.

“The animal seems grey and not white and darker at the top of the head,” he added “The tourist’s description indicates that the animal disappeared into the sea. Polar bears are mammals that breathe and swim on the surface. The man ought to have seen the polar bear swim away, but the animal dived and disappeared. Polar bears just don’t do that,” Karl concluded.

Police ask people in the area to remain vigilant and to report any further sightings to the authorities.


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