BP asserts that this was a hazing gone wrong. BP Alaska spokesperson Steve Rinehart claims the guard thought he fired a bean bag at the bear that was approaching the compound, but "accidentally" used a cracker shell instead which struck a fatal blow. Cracker shells are a type of ammo that is loud, has characteristics of an explosive, and can propel explosives large distances. There use has recently come under fire by the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and other government offices as too dangerous and unpredictable to use without a proper license.
Rinehart went on to say that the "polar bear death is the first time in 35 years of working on the North Slope that a bear has been killed by a security guard working for BP, and we dearly wish it had not happened".
Unfortunately it took the bear several days to die from the wound. The United States Department of Fish And Wildlife Service is investigating the killing. I hope they answer these and other questions:
- The bear was shot on August 3rd. Why are we just hearing about it? Was there a cover-up?
- How does one confuse an explosive shell with a bean bag?
- How much training does the security guard have in the use of these weapons?
- If he couldn't tell the bear was hit-how close was the bear really?
- Was the bear actually threatening anybody?
- Were permits needed for the shells? Did BP have them?
- How much more of our wildlife and environment are we going to let BP destroy? Remember the Gulf of Tears
I "dearly wish" BP and its guard company are held accountable.
Article first published as A Threatened Polar Bear Killed by BP Security Guard in Alaska on Technorati.