A security guard at an Alaska oil field fatally shot a polar bear after the animal approached employee housing, a BP spokesman said.
Spokesman Steve Rinehart said the unidentified guard employed by Purcell Security thought he was firing a bean bag round at the bear at Endicott Oil Field on the North Slope.
Instead, he shot the animal with a "cracker round", which Mr Rinehart said makes a loud noise and lights like a firecracker.
The spokesman said the bear was shot on August 3 and died a few days later.
Mr Rinehart said it was the first time a polar bear was shot and killed on BP's operations in Alaska. He said the guard was trying to protect people, not hurt the bear.
US Fish and Wildlife did not comment when asked by KTUU-TV about its investigation into the shooting.