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American black bear (Ursus americanus) looking for salmon at creek at Neets Bay fish hatchery, Behm Canal in Southeast Alaska near Ketchikan, USA.
Wolfgang Kaehler—LightRocket/Getty Images

The wrong black bear was euthanized in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after it was mistaken for a bear that bit a hiker.

Officials at the park tranquilized a bear matching the profile of the attacker and saw it had “dental-canine injuries consistent with the hiker’s wounds,” Reuters reports. Concluding that this was likely the bear that bit the hiker—and unable to detain the bear or fit it with a tracking collar while awaiting DNA results—they put the bear down.

DNA evidence later showed that the bear was not a match for the one that bit through the hiker’s tent and attacked. The culpable bear is likely still at large.


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