Sat1 regional: Polar bear defence training at AWI

Sat1 regional: Polar bear defence training at AWI


Attention, the polar bear is coming! Training for the absolute emergency. Martin Völker is not very comfortable in his skin. Ear protectors and bulletproof vest are normally not included in his equipment. The 31-year-old geographer travels for the first time to the eternal ice and therefore he has to learn how to shoot. “I am excited, because I’ve never had a gun in my hand. Really never. And now shooting with rather large-caliber weapons, that’s quite a challenge to do it for the first time. Oh look, it works! As these hits lie: “The bear is dead “Christian Katlein sees all this more relaxed: since ten years, the sea ice physicists works regularly in the Arctic. Every three years, he has to brush up on his shooting skills. To shoot on a polar bear in an emergency is no problem for him: “I am doing everything possible to avoid that I ever get into a situation where I need a gun. So far I succeeded in ten years. All colleagues at the Institute so far succeeded at this and what we practice here is really only the very last option. And it is important that you have previously dealt with it, because if the polar bear faces you at 30m distance and is running towards you. Then it is the wrong situation to think about this. Polar bears are curious and hungry polar bears are life threatening for people. That’s why there are strict rules when the researchers are traveling in the ice. Default is: you have to at least be two people going into the field so that one can take over the polar bear guard. But finally, it is enough, no matter how big the group is, if there are two people alternating the watch But then they have to take care of the entire group and can not work. But the others can focus on the work. Up to 40 kilometers per hour fast can a polar bear run when charging an attack. Escape is pointless. Then every shot needs to be precise, even if one’s heart is beating. The sprint before shooting should simulate this adrenaline rush. After the training the scientists feel safer, a queasy feeling remains. I have never had a Gun before in my hand. And to have it once in the hand is better than the first time when you’re in danger. If in doubt, you have responsibility for your colleagues and you do not want to think about it. This is pure self-defense and I’d never do harm to an animal. So that’s the extreme emergency. Three hours practice with the hunting rifle in preparation for a possible clash with an up to 800-kilogram predator in the eternal ice. Martin Völker is in the end a little happy that he has the training behind him. The adrenaline level is still somewhat elevated, yes … It was a bit harder than I thought. And the first two passages were actually quite good. I hit the polar bear pretty good. But in third round I was a little off now. But I hope, that i do not have to hold such a thing in my hand again. In late July Martin Völker travels to the polar ice. So far, fortunately, no employee of the Alfred Wegener Institute had to shoot on a polar bear. But now the scientists are prepared. Alarm! The polar bear is coming!

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