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Polar Bear Shot Dead By Cruise Ship Worker Sparks Social Media Debate

CNN / Daily Express

According to scientists, the population of polar bears are rapidly declining due to climate change.

It's sad to think that these adorable mammals could be extinct if we don't take better care of this planet.

Female polar bears are ranked as one of the most loving mothers in the animal kingdom.

Mother polar bears will do anything to nourish and keep their cubs safe.

They'll teach them all the knowledge they need to survive in the harsh Arctic climate and will fight off predators if they're forced to.

Even if a mother polar bear is starving, she'll let her cubs feed off her breast milk.

Unfortunately, polar bears are malnourished more than ever.

A team of researchers tracked nine female polar bears for weeks, and discovered that they're not consuming as much food as their body needs.

Of course, you don't want to cross paths with a polar bear, but what happens if you do?

When a polar bear attacked a German cruise ship worker on a tourist expedition in the Arctic Ocean, many people took to social media to express their anger.

When Hapag-Lloyd Cruises landed on Spitzbergen island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a guard, who was assigned to protect tourists, was attacked by a polar bear.

A second guard shot the bear in an act of "self-defense," according to a company spokesman.

"We greatly regret this incident," they stated.

(Caution: The next photo you are about to see contains graphic content).

"One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself. As the attempts of the other guards to evict the animal, unfortunately, were not successful, there had to be intervention for reasons of self-defense and to protect the life of the attacked person," said a statement by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises .

The unnamed man suffered a non-life threatening head injury and was airlifted to the nearest hospital.

According to BBC, 3,000 polar bears call Svalbard home. And polar bear attacks are said to be rare in this region.

Animal rights advocates believe the death of the polar bear could have been avoided:

While others are calling it an act of self-defense:

What's your stance on this heated debate?

This isn't the first time people have expressed their outrage over wildlife tourism.  

In June, an American hunter sparked backlash after posting photos with a dead rare black giraffe. Read more about the story here.

[H/T: BBC / News AU]

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.