A cruise ship operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises out of Germany made a scheduled stop on an Arctic archipelago near Norway on Saturday, but before allowing any passengers to disembark, the ship’s four-man polar bear security detail had work to do. Their job was to ensure the area was safe and secure for the customers on board, and if necessary, scare off any polar bears in the area with their most common methodology: firing their weapons up into the air.

Unfortunately, as the team left the ship, one of its members was taken by surprise by a bear they hadn’t spotted beforehand. As he was being attacked, the other members of the security detail shot and killed the bear, saving their teammates life, and sparking an international debate about these commercial ventures into the wild.

“There had to be [an] intervention for reasons of self-defense and to protect the life of the attacked person,” a statement from the cruise line read. “Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when traveling in environmentally sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife.”

The guard was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he is now listed as responsive and stable, despite serious injuries to his head — and while few would argue that the cruise line staff should have allowed the bear to kill the man, many have argued that the cruise line should never have been ferrying passengers into such a location in the first place. To be fair, there’s a reasonable argument to be made there: polar bears have seen a steep decline in the amount of sea ice available within their habitat in recent years, placing them on the “vulnerable” list of animals at risk of being endangered. Some contend that shipping boatloads of humans into shrinking polar bear territory is a recipe for these sorts of incidents, making the endeavor responsible for the bear attack, rather than the bear that’s acting on instinct.