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Longyearbyen Photos

From: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard


Polar bears wander freely in the countryside around Longyearbyen, and sometimes they come into town. (I talked to a jogger who reported seeing a young mother pushing a baby stroller with a rifle slung over her shoulder.)

Important: Although the law requires you to carry a weapon if you're leaving town, you're allowed to shoot a polar bear only in self-defense. (The police investigate every shooting.) What's more, you're expected to frighten the bear away if you can--e.g., with a signal flare--and it's against the law to tease or interfere with polar bears, which can die from oxygen deprivation if they run too far and too fast.

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