On the afternoon of November 7, police authorities and the Icelandic Coast Guard initiated a search for a polar bear on Langjökull Glacier, Vísir reported. According to an anonymous tip, possible polar bear tracks were spotted on the glacier. Police and Coast Guard searched Langjökull from the refuge of a helicopter.
After fruitless attempts, no polar bear was found.
A possible explanation
Later that evening, mbl.is reported that the mystery of the wandering polar bear had possibly been solved.
According to glacier guide Arngrímur Hermannsson, who posted his theory on his Facebook page, the animal tracks did not belong to a polar bear, but to American mountain guide Jon Kedrowski.
Under the guidance of Arngrímur, Kedrowski and hiking partner Colin O’Brady were practising at Langjökull for their upcoming Antarctica trek. According to the Icelandic guide, Kedrowski had borrowed ski boots for the exercise. However, the boots turned out to be too small for the American. Kedrowski then donned his winter boots, specifically designed for the harsh Antarctica climate.
Arngrímur made a point to mention that the American mountain guide’s shoe size is EU 48, alluding to the fact that the assumed bear tracks were impressions made by Jon Kedrowski’s large boots.
Although polar bears are not native to Iceland, they occasionally end up on Icelandic shores.
Carried by large icebergs, polar bears headed to Iceland endure weeks of travel. Despite polar bears being classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union, they are usually shot on sight in Iceland.
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