Outrage after cruise guard shoots polar bear

A polar bear which Norwegian authorities said attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole is seen after being shot dead by another employee

A polar bear was killed after it attacked a bear guard leading tourists off a German cruise ship near the North Pole, officials said.

It happened on the northernmost island of Svalbard archipelago, a region between mainland Norway and the North Pole known for polar bears and ice caps.

The injured employee was taken by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen with injuries that are not life-threatening. As the cruise line explained via a statement on their Facebook page, "A polar bear guard - an expert employed by the cruise line - was attacked on land by a polar bear".

Meanwhile fellow Twitter user Gareth Stringer commented: "Polar bear shot for being a Polar Bear".

Arctic tourism, now in high season, has been on the rise in recent years.

A polar bear has been shot dead after injuring a guard working for cruise ship tourists visiting an Arctic archipelago in Norway.

Polar bear attacks cruise ship employee on Arctic island

"The incident occurred when the four-person polar bear guard team, who are always on board for these expedition cruises as required by law, prepared for a shore leave", the company said.

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", spokeswoman Negar Etminan said of their employee, adding that the victim was not in a life-threatening condition.

The bear was shot by another employee of the ship, the MS Brennan, "in an act of self-defense", a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises told The Associated Press.

Polar bears have become poster animals for climate change, with scientists identifying human-driven global warming as the biggest threat to the bears' continued existence.

"Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close". "On the contrary", the statement explains, "polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance".

"And it should be remembered that our crew members are extremely competent in polar matters and bring years of experience to bear in this region".