Polar bear spotted in Iceland
Iceland does not generally have polar bears, but every few years one does wander over from Greenland. They float out towards Iceland on icebergs and then swim up to a few hundred kilometers to reach land. Generally they are closer to being dead than alive after such a journey. This one however seemed quite healthy (from a far distance).
Sailors on a fishing vessel, Sædís, noticed the polar bear in the isolated valley of Hælavík on the northernmost part of Hornstrandir in the Vestirðir area of northwest Iceland. The sailors said the bear seemed quite brisk, jogging along the sea. The bear then swam out towards the boat, but returned to land and ran up into the foggy hillside.
Hornstrandir is a completely uninhabited area, but popular among hikers in the summer. A group of hikers have delayed their trip to the area and police is trying to establish contact with a pair that might be hiking in the area.
A Coast Guard helicopter is on its way to the area with representatives of the Icelandic Nature Institute. They have not yet decided what will be done to the bear. The few bears that have wandered over in the past few years have all been shot. However they were all quite weak and unlikely to survive any captivation and journey back home to Greenland. The rich Icelander that offered his private jet and to pay for the relocation to Greenland when the last bear crossed is also somewhat bankrupt today.
[Update] The bear was shot this afternoon. Officials from the Icelandic Nature Institute along with the Coast Guard shot the bear. Since there was a thick fog in the region which made tracking the bear impossible the bear was shot for safety reasons. It could wander unnoticed into inhabited areas through the fog.