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A polar bear attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on the Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

The animal was killed after attacking a cruise ship guard on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, which lies within the Artic Circle, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway.

The injured man was airlifted to a hospital where he is recovering from his injuries.

"Polar Bear shot dead for being a wild animal in its own territory... outrageous!" another wrote.

This is not the first time people are attacked by polar bears on Svalbard.

News of the shooting was criticized on social media by observers who blamed the cruise line for intruding on the polar bear's habitat.

Arctic tourism, now in high season, has been on the rise in recent years.

"He was flown out, was responsive, and is now undergoing medical treatment", Etminan said, adding that the victim was not in a life-threatening condition.

Then a polar bear unexpectedly attacked one of the guards, a spokesperson for the ship operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises told The Associated Press, and "in an act of self defense" another guard shot the polar bear. "When there's only 25,000 polar bears left on the planet, every one matters".

Mr Gervais om Twitter said: "Let's get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close". "On the contrary", the statement explains, "polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance".

Scientists believe human activity and climate change have contributed to an increase in polar bear attacks, which are most likely to occur when the animals are very hungry. The ship had landed on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, an area known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

Last month, a 31-year-old Canadian man was killed while protecting his children from a polar bear in a popular Canadian fishing and hunting spot.