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A Warming Arctic Could Make Rare Polar Bear Attacks More Common

Records dating back to the late-19th century show fewer than 100 polar bear attacks on humans, but the changing climate could make encounters with hungry bears more likely.

Published On 07/18/2017
8:00 AM EDT
G G errit de Veer could be forgiven that late in life his dreams were tormented by the sights and sounds of voracious polar bears. The 16th-century Dutch mariner, who sailed on two of Willem Barents’s voyages of discovery in the Arctic, chronicled the earliest polar bear attacks on humans ever recorded. And for a period of several years between 1595 and 1597, it must have seemed that, wherever he was, a hungry polar bear was ready to leap out of the shadows.