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Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

New York City, New...
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Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

Hi all,

I'll be in Longyearbyen with my wife Feb 19th through 24th and we got a room in Gjestehuset 102. I read that there is no risk of polar bear encounter in the settlement but since this hostel is about a mile away from the settlement center, I was wondering if there was any risk while walking from the hostel to the center? It seems like it's a 15-minute walk and that the road is pretty empty.

We will mostly book day tour and I read that someone then comes with you and has a gun to scare them off if needed, but are tourists allowed a flare gun or anything to "scare" them off if ever encountered in that part of the settlement? Or is it simply something that never happens.


Harstad, Norway
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for Bergen, Norway
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1. Re: Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

I think walking in daylight should be ok. Walking as far as Huset Restaurant is considered safe during daylight hours. In darkness you should take a taxi. Locals work around this issue by using their cars at all times.

If a bear is observed coming into the settlement, the authorities will make efforts to turn him around, but anything could happen during the night. The staff at the guesthouse will be updated with the latest info.

When going on a tour out into the wilderness, the guides will be having guns for protection. Individuals can only have guns by special permission and firearms should not be carried inside the settlement.

Edited: 01 December 2015, 16:18
2. Re: Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

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Removed on: 26 February 2016, 01:49
Oslo, Norway
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3. Re: Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

There was one close to town yesterday, but as the story notes, it is very rare occurrance.


Less sea ice, due to the effect of El Nino this year, is part of the reason bears wander further on land.

As far as walking around town, many locals can be seen jogging or walking their dogs around the road near Huset etc.

4. Re: Polar Bear risk walking around Longyearbyen

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Removed on: 24 April 2017, 13:17