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unwanted visitor

21 June 2017

The Netherlands Arctic Station is studying Barnacle Geese on Spitsbergen. Storholmen is the biggest breeding colony; an island 300x400 meter with a hut. Two people had set up a camera to study behaviour of incubating geese when a polar bear came to the island. The researchers had to leave all of their equipment behind and left the island via a rescue boat on the other side. Two cameras were running. One was pushed down by the polar bear without any feeds, the other one filmed the polar bear searching for food. You can see the bear speed up and slow down, being curious but also eating eggs in nests of eider ducks and barnacle geese. Note the glaucous gulls finishing the job.

It is a shocking experience when suddenly a bear appears on your route. The researchers were well prepared and equipped with a rifle, a flare gun, two radios, a satellite phone and an emergency beacon. They left the island and were picked up by a rescue boat. All went well, no flares or shots fired. But these encounters get more numerous lately.

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