Police in Skagaströnd were notified on Saturday, April 11th, of possible polar bear tracks. However, after searching the area, there was no evidence to suggest that any kind of bear had been in the area.
“It was clear that these footprints were a few days old,” Officer Stefán Vagn Stefánsson told Vísir. “They were very indistinct, there was no way to see what it was–whether they were tracks of a bear or some other animal.”
On Sunday, snowmobiles went up on Skagaheiði to investigate the situation further, but found no evidence of a bear in the area. And good thing; Iceland’s government has a tendency to indiscriminately shoot polar bears on sight. The justification for this is that the government wants to prevent the bears from attacking humans or livestock, but there are other ways to keep this from happening. Tranquiliser darts come to mind.
Due in part to climate change, the polar bear is classified as “vulnerable,” and their numbers in the wild have been falling. In Iceland, they are an exceptionally rare sight, although they do occasionally migrate here on ice floes from Greenland. This doesn’t stop people from reporting polar bear sightings. “We get regular reports in the northwest that there have been tracks or signs that polar bears have come into the country,” Stefán said. “In most cases, it is something which has no basis in reality. It seems like this is such a matter.”
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