An Alaska man has been charged with the illegal killing of a polar bear in violation of federal law.
Chris Gordon of Kaktovik shot the bear outside his home, leaving the carcass there for five months without salvaging any part of it, according to federal prosecutors.
“Mr. Gordon allegedly left butchered whale meat outside in front of his yard of his residence for a substantial period of time, which attracted polar bear, as well as other animals,” said Ryan Tansey, a Fairbanks-based federal prosecutor.
Gordon, 35, faces a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 if convicted, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported.
Gordon declined to comment about the case, which is scheduled for an August court appearance in Fairbanks.
Self-defense killings of animals are allowed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. But Gordon did not report the polar bear or tag it as required, Tansey said.
Coastal Alaska Natives also may harvest polar bears for crafts or subsistence, but not in a wasteful way.
The North Slope village has become a destination for tourists and polar bears in a warming Arctic.
Mike Gallagher, a city council member in the village, is among Kaktovik residents who have expressed concerns about the encroaching bears.
“The bear’s underneath my house in the morning when I go to work,” Gallagher said at a public meeting in June. “Would it be your kid? Would it be my kid? It could be anybody down the street. These bears are getting used to people. They’re domesticated.”