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Crime & Courts

Fourth Brevig Mission man charged with waste in killing of 14 walrus

Federal authorities on Thursday charged another Brevig Mission man with waste after a group of hunters killed 14 walrus in 2016, removing some of the heads and leaving entire carcasses to rot.

Timmy Henry was part of the group that shot and killed the North Pacific walrus, which included six calves, according to the filing in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks by Stephen Cooper, an assistant U.S. attorney.

Henry is charged with one count of wasteful subsistence taking of marine mammals.

Under federal law Alaska Natives can take walrus for subsistence hunting or for making art, as long as it isn't done wastefully, the filing said.

But Henry and others left a substantial portion, the harvestable remains, of all 14 walrus, the filing says.

Brevig Mission is located in Northwest Alaska, northwest of Nome. Prosecutors say the illegal hunt occurred on May 7, 2016, on a Bering Sea ice floe west of Sledge Island, about 100 miles south of Brevig Mission.

There were four hunters in the group, Cooper said on Friday.

William Kakoona and Bob Tocktoo were previously charged with wasteful killing of the walrus, and have paid or are in the process of paying $2,280 in fines, Cooper said.

Edward Barr, from Brevig Mission, was also charged with waste in June for the incident.

Barr has said he had left one or two walrus on the floe because ice was closing in on his hunting group, and they had to head home for their own safety. Another man in the party left his walrus kills behind after cutting his hand, forcing him to get medical care in Nome, Barr told the Daily News.

Last year, federal authorities prosecuted four other men in a different case involving wasteful killing of walrus in 2015, this time at Cape Lisburne in Northwest Alaska. In that incident, the men sought tusk ivory that can be carved and sold as art.

Cooper said he didn't know specifically why the Brevig Mission hunters removed only heads. Their motivation is a secondary issue, he said.

"The crime is wasting any substantial portion of it, and the whole carcass is certainly a substantial portion," he said.

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