Polar bear attack on Greenland Archaeologist

Posted: Aug 05, 2010 10:27 am EDT

A Danish archaeologist who was out on field studies in northeast Greenland with a colleague was attacked by a polar bear, but survived. Jens Fog Jensen said although the young male bear was on top of him while he was on his back, it was over very quickly when his colleague shot the bear out of self-defense.

Report courtesy of DPA:

A Danish archaeologist was bitten in the thighs and arms but survived an attack at the weekend by a polar bear while on an expedition to Greenland, he said Wednesday, August 4.

Jens Fog Jensen said the episode was over "very quickly" and he "hardly had time to think much," in comments to the Danish news agency Ritzau after his return from Greenland.

Jensen said he and his colleague Bjarne Gronnow had tried to scare off the polar bear, but instead it attacked them and pushed Jensen to the ground.

"I was on my back with the bear on top of me," Jensen said, adding that he tried to hit the bear on the head.

He shouted to Gronnow, who shot the animal from a range of 10 meters and then shot it in the neck again.

Jensen said he was "lucky that the bear was a young male. If it had been an adult, it would have killed me instantly."

The two researchers had to file a report with the Greenland authorities about why they had killed a protected animal, saying it was in self-defense.

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Image of the polar bear that was shot after attacking a Norwegian kayaker in his tent on Svalbard last week (click to enlarge)
Image by Arild Lyssand/Sysselmannen Svalbard courtesy Arild Lyssand/Sysselmannen Svalbard