8/26/2011 5:15:24 PM

Polar Bear Death at Oil Field Investigated

Bear in summer settingThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the death of a polar bear fatally shot by a security guard at a BP oilfield in Alaska. The company said that the shooting was an accident: the guard had been trying to scare off the bear, which had been prowling around employee housing. The guard  believed the gun was loaded with bean-bag-type devices, not lethal ammunition.

The bear died 11 days later on a nearby island.

Bruce Woods, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman in Alaska, said that the incident appeared to be the first time a polar bear was accidentally killed at an oil facility since oil production began on Alaska's North Slope in 1977.

"We're taking this investigation very seriously and hope to find out what happened," Woods said.

Photo ©Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures.

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