Feds Investigate Polar Bear Shooting

BP guard says he mixed up bullets

Patty Hodapp

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the fatal shooting of a polar bear at an Alaskan oil field earlier this month. A guard at the BP field shot the bear on August 3 after it moved toward employee housing; the animal died several days later. After the incident, the guard called the killing an accident and said he thought he had nonlethal rubber bullets in his gun. The incident is only the second recorded death of a polar bear at an oil facility; in 2002, a federal biologist put down a starving bear that refused to leave a field despite efforts to scare it off. All oil operators in Alaska, including BP, have permission to use “nonlethal harrassment” to keep polar bears away from oil facilities. According to polar bear biologist Ian Stirling, loud noises, trained bear dogs, and nonlethal firearms such as 12-gauge plastic slugs and rubber bullets can all be used as deterrents.

Read more at Reuters