A tourist in Norway suffered injuries to his face and arm from a polar bear attack Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The man was on a camping trip in the country’s remote Arctic Svalbard region, known for its polar bear sightings, and was sleeping in his tent at the time of the attack.
Authorities said the man, identified as Jakub Moravec from the Czech Republic, was one of six people at the campsite just north of the town of Longyearbyen. "It was a very big surprise," Moravec, 37, told ITV News. "I'm very lucky."
The bear was shot dead by someone in the group following the attack, according to CNN. No other injuries were reported.
Svalbard is an archipelago located about 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of mainland Norway. It’s considered one of the best places on earth to see polar bears and attracts tourists from around the world who pay to have guides take them into the wilderness to spot the endangered animals.
Polar bears can reach up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) from head to tail and weigh up to 720 kilograms (1,600 pounds). The powerful Arctic predator feeds on seals. Unlike some other bear species, polar bears typically don’t fear humans, which makes them particularly dangerous. Towns located in polar bear habitat often deal with polar bears going through their garbage.
Thursday’s attack wasn’t the first time visitors to Svalbard have had run-ins with polar bears. In 2011, a bear attacked and killed a 17-year-old British traveler on Von Postbreen glacier on Svalbard’s island of Spitsbergen. The teen was part of a group of 80 tourists on a five-week expedition through the Arctic with tour company BSES Expeditions, according to the Guardian. Four other group members were mauled and suffered injuries.