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Polar Bear That Killed Student Was Starving


(NewsCore) - SVALBARD, Norway -- The polar bear that killed a British teenager and mauled four others was starving and significantly underweight, Norwegian officials said Sunday.The results of the examination of the 550 pound adult male came as survivors of the attack were being airlifted back to Britain.Scott Bennell-Smith, 17, from Cornwall, and Patrick Flinders, 16, from Jersey, were taken by air ambulance to hospitals in England. The team leaders, Michael "Spike" Reid, 29, and Andy Ruck, 27, who were both mauled as they tried to assist the boys, are due to be transferred Monday, The (London) Times reported.All are said to be in a stable condition.Reid was seriously injured around the face and neck, before he finally managed to fire the single shot that killed the animal.His courage has been praised by other members of the 13-strong team, who had been camping out on the Von Postbreen glacier on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, when the polar bear attacked.However, he could not save Horatio Chapple, 17, an Etonian from Salisbury, Wilsthire, who died at the scene. An autopsy will be carried out in Norway Monday.Liv Asta Odegaard, spokeswoman for the governor of Svalbard, said that an examination of the bear's carcass showed it had not eaten for some time."It had a very thin fat layer and little content in its stomach," she told The Times.Officials investigating the failure of the expedition's bear defenses also confirmed that the trip-wire set up around the campsite failed to trigger any warning, or detonate "bear flares," which are often used to scare off the predators.Unlike some expeditions, the group, which was part of a larger British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) expedition, did not have an armed member on "bear watch.""They were all sleeping in their tents. It took them by surprise," said Odegaard. "It is now clear that the bear had entered the tent camp at Von Postbreen glacier unnoticed."On Sunday, friends and family of Chapple hit out at critics, who set up an internet page paying tribute to the endangered animal.A Facebook page entitled, "RIP Svalbard Polar Bear Who Got Shot Dead For Killing Horatio Chapple," was quickly taken down by the social networking site, but by Sunday afternoon another one had already appeared and had gathered more than 100 members.Responding to negative comments on another page, set up in the teenager's memory, his younger brother, Magnus wrote: "I am sorry for all the harsh words Horatio. you were the best brother and still are. I love you and rest in peace. xxxxx"In a statement, BSES said the expedition had been canceled and arrangements were underway to bring the rest of the young explorers home.They had been researching climate change, documenting changes to the glacier since previous expeditions.

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Added: Aug-8-2011 Occurred On: Aug-8-2011
By: Zipper10
In:
Regional News
Tags: Polar, bear, killed, student, starving, Norway
Location: Norway (load item map)
Views: 15513 | Comments: 32 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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