Mystery of the Langjökull “Polar Bear” Likely Solved

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The suspected polar bear tracks on Langjökull glacier, which prompted an investigation by the Icelandic Coast Guard, have been attributed to American mountaineer Jon Kedrowski. Kedrowski, training for a South Pole expedition, had switched to oversized, insulated boots after his rented ski boots caused him discomfort, leading to the misidentification.

Mysterious tracks in the snow

On Monday, the West Iceland Police received a tip regarding possible polar bear tracks on the Langjökull glacier in West Iceland. To investigate, the Icelandic Coast Guard conducted an aerial survey of the glacier yesterday afternoon.

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Kristján Ingi Kristjánsson, temporarily appointed Chief Constable for the West Iceland Police, stated that the survey was being conducted as a safety precaution, although he doubted that the search would yield any meaningful results.

“Have people gone mad?”

A few hours after the media reported on the Coast Guard’s expedition, Arngrímur Hermannsson, a seasoned guide known for pioneering glacier and winter tours in Iceland, shed possible light on the mysterious tracks: “A polar bear on the Langjökull glacier – have people gone mad?” Arngrímur wrote in a post on Facebook.

Arngrímur went on to explain that ski-mountaineer Jon Kedrowski and explorer Colin O’Brady had visited the Langjökull glacier last week to train for a cross-country ski expedition to the South Pole. “Jon had rented cross-country ski boots that ended up hurting him, so after two days, he packed the boots away and switched to these huge polar boots, like those used in the South Pole for setting up tents.”

Jon is not a small man.

“Jon is 194 cm tall and weighs 83 kg; he wears size 48 shoes. Over the next four days, he trudged around Langjökull in these boots, which are more like giant socks.”

Arngrímur then shared a map of Jon’s tracks, explaining that Jon had now left the country and flown to Colorado with Icelandair. “That’s where you’ll find your ‘Polar Bear’.”

This article was updated at 02:14 PM and again on November 10 and 12.57 PM.

Polar Bear Turned Out to Be a Seal

gray seal

Iceland’s Coast Guard sent a helicopter out on an unusual call yesterday afternoon when hikers in the Westfjords’ Hornstrandir Nature Reserve reported sighting a polar bear. While the white giants are not native to Iceland, they have been known to drift to the north coast on sea ice on rare occasions. Two Westfjords Police officers rode out with the helicopter, which was accompanied on the mission by search and rescue ship Gísli Jón.

The helicopter crew flew over Hornvík bay (where the sighting had been made) and the surrounding area, as well as spoke to the hikers, who were convinced that they had seen a polar bear.

A notice from Westfjords Police states: “No bear was found. The animal that the people believed was a polar bear seems to have been a large, white-coloured grey seal that had been spotted recently in Hornvík.”

Westfjords Police thanked the Coast Guard and ICE-SAR for their collaboration on the call out, adding: “Better safe than sorry.”

Possible Polar Bear Sighting in Northeast Iceland

A polar bear has been spotted on the remote plain of Melrakkaslétta in Northeast Iceland, RÚV reports. Police in the region issued a statement about the sighting on their Facebook page on Monday night.

At the time of writing, this sighting had not yet been confirmed by a secondary source. Police were investigating further, however, and the Icelandic Coast Guard sent a helicopter to surveil the area on Monday night.

People traveling in the area are urged to contact 112 immediately if they see or encounter a polar bear and are, obviously, urged not to approach it.