NBC: Global Warming to Blame for Deadly Polar Bear Attack

On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Martin Fletcher reported on a deadly polar bear attack in Norway and explained: "The attack began at dawn with a bear looking for food....it's believed that with global warming, food is scarce. A post-mortem showed this polar bear was 110 pounds underweight, with almost no fat reserves. It must have been starving."

Fletcher began the report by declaring: "And today in the Arctic Circle, one of the most beautiful and hostile places on the planet, it's warmer than usual. There isn't much food for the polar bears. So when a group of British youngsters on a wildlife adventure trip set up camp for the night they became bait for a bear."

At the end of the segment, Fletcher noted that all the usual methods to defending against a bear attack had failed: "The expedition cut short its trip amid tough questions. Why did the gun not fire? Why did the warning trip – trip wire to stop bears not work? And especially at this time of year, when polar bears are hungry, why were the youngsters there in the first place?"

Here is a portion of Fletcher's August 8 report:

7:50AM ET

MATT LAUER: Back now at 7:50 with a horrifying and deadly polar bear attack in Norway, the victims, a group of teenagers on a wildlife adventure camping trip. NBC's Martin Fletcher is in London, he's got details on this. Martin, good morning.

MARTIN FLETCHER: Hey Matt, good morning. Two British survivors of that horrific attack by the polar bear returned home this weekend, two more still in the hospital in Norway. The attack began at dawn with a bear looking for food. They're adorable at a distance and when they're well fed. When they're hungry, polar bears are mean killing machines. Ten feet tall, they weigh half a ton and can be ferocious.

And today in the Arctic Circle, one of the most beautiful and hostile places on the planet, it's warmer than usual. There isn't much food for the polar bears. So when a group of British youngsters on a wildlife adventure trip set up camp for the night they became bait for a bear.

(...)


FLETCHER: There are about 2,000 polar bears here, but it's believed that with global warming, food is scarce. A post-mortem showed this polar bear was 110 pounds underweight, with almost no fat reserves. It must have been starving.
    
JIM MCNEIL [POLAR EXPLORER]: If you're the only food source there, then they will come after you for that. It's just a natural process. And whether you can put them off is the key question.

FLETCHER: Tragically, the British youngsters could not. The expedition cut short its trip amid tough questions. Why did the gun not fire? Why did the warning trip – trip wire to stop bears not work? And especially at this time of year, when polar bears are hungry, why were the youngsters there in the first place? Hard questions as a family mourns its son. Matt.

LAUER: Alright, Martin Fletcher in London with this tragic story. Martin, thank you very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC