From Iceland — Possible Polar Bear Sighting Was Actually A Swan

Possible Polar Bear Sighting Was Actually A Swan

Published June 24, 2021

Brittnee Kiner
Photo by
Wikimedia Commons

It seems that a polar bear probably never landed on Hornstrandir this week, reports Vísir. A veterinarian examined a sample from the area and determined that it was likely from an herbivore such as a swan, not a polar bear.

Earlier this week, police in the Westfjords received a notice from a group of hikers at Hlöðuvík by Hornstrandir that they had found potential traces of a polar bear. The Coast Guard helicopter was accompanied by police during the search and they decided it was possible to rule out the possibility of a polar bear.

It’s a bird, not a bear

Kristín Ósk Jónasdóttir, an expert at the Environment Agency in Ísafjörður, believes that there was never a polar bear in the area. A waste sample was taken to a veterinarian to be analyzed, which was then determined to be from an herbivore but will undergo further examination.

“The vet’s conclusions were that it was a herbivore that had left this waste behind. So the hypothesis that is being worked on now is that this was a swan rather than a polar bear. There are very large footprints and large pieces that are left when swans pass by,” Kristín explains.

A polar bear’s journey to Iceland

Kristín also notes that sea ice has generally remained far from land, except for two individual glaciers. However, she asserts that polar bear arrivals are still possible. “Naturally, we know very little about the arrival of polar bears. We have always linked this to the proximity of ice to the land and so on, but at the same time, we know research has shown that polar bears can swim incredibly far,” Kristín says.

False alarm, everyone! Polar bear arrivals are still possible but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be a swan.

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