- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Authorities are searching for a wounded brown bear that was accidentally shot with a real bullet by a Skagway police officer who had been trying to use non-lethal means against the animal at a campground.

The adult male bear was shot Saturday at the Dyea Campground in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Officials at the park said authorities are still on the lookout for the bear, which could still be alive, The Juneau Empire reported on Monday (https://bit.ly/29LdUQ1).

The officer who shot the bear reported he mistakenly loaded a lethal bullet before firing and striking the bear in its hind section.

Officials say in a news release bears are often “hazed” using non-lethal rubber slugs in order to “create a negative experience” that will prevent them from approaching humans and sources of food.

The bear fled the campground after being shot Saturday, and park rangers and Skagway police reported seeing it cross the Taiya River.

“The bear was observed to be walking with great difficulty and is believed to have succumbed to the river current,” according to statement from the National Park Service. “Subsequent search efforts along the river bank have indicated no further sign of the injured bear, but authorities have not been able to verify that the bear has died from its wounds.”

Authorities suspect the wounded bear is the same one that has been spotted around the park service’s Dyea Campground since the beginning of the summer.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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