Taskforce on Polar Bears Established Skip to content

Taskforce on Polar Bears Established

In relation to recent Polar bears arrival,the Minister of Environment, Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir has just established a task force to go over the last weeks’ recent incidents. The coast guards’ helicopter spotted no polar bears on its polar bear patrol yesterday.

The task force consists of representatives from the police, the Environment Agency of Iceland, The Icelandic Institute of Natural History and a veterinarian. The aim of the group is to go over the arrivals of the two bears and make a functional operation plan on how to catch polar bears alive when they swim ashore. Morgunbladid reports

The main problem is that no equipment exists in Iceland to catch polar bear alive, and the task force’s first project is to acquire the necessary equipment. Time is a vital factor when polar bears swim ashore, and the experience from last weeks has shown that if necessary equipment would have been ready, there is no telling if it would have been possible to catch the bears alive.

The task force is considering buying the cage that the Danish expert brought over as well as long range tranquilizing guns.

The coast guard’s helicopter flew over the North West of Iceland yesterday to look out for polar bears. No bears were in sight. The coast guard flies regularly over the drifting ice area, north-west of Iceland and will continue to do so until the drifting ice is gone.

There are records of over 500 polar bears in Iceland since the settlement in the 9th century. The oldest record of a Polar Bear sighting is from 890. Records of bear arrivals are most frequent in the West fjords, the Northern shore and the East fjords, but several bears have also been spotted on the south cost. The legacy of Polar bears lives on in several place names like i.e. Húnaflói (bear cub bay) and folk lore. Legend has it that bears do not attack their namesakes, so in areas were polar bears were frequent, many people bore names like Björn (bear) Sveinbjörn (young bear) or Brina (she-bear) Fréttabladid reports

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