Pat Craig, executive director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, told The Dodo that these sort of mix-ups are all too common. More than anything, he explained, the priority for park officials is to ease the public's mind.
"They know the odds of them finding the right bear when they have lots of bears is a challenge," he said. "So a lot of times they go on the premise that the first bear they see, they just assume it's it."
After killing it, officials announce to the press that they think they got the right animal, Craig explained. If there are no further incidents, they blame the one they killed. If there are further incidents, they go out and kill another one.