Nome, Alaska – The Alaska Nannut Co-Management Council (“ANCC”) is concerned to learn of an alleged wasteful harvest of a polar bear in Kaktovik, Alaska and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a decision yesterday to pursue criminal charges for the alleged violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”), based on an investigation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ANCC is currently reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding this case.
The ANCC is an Alaska Native tribal organization comprised of 15 polar bear hunting tribes, including the Native Village of Kaktovik. Polar bears are essential to the nutritional, cultural, and spiritual well-being and way of life of ANCC’s member tribes. We have served as stewards of an important relationship with polar bears, and their harvests and uses, since time immemorial. We continue to harvest polar bears for subsistence purposes and for the purposes of creating and selling authentic articles of handicrafts and clothing, as authorized under the MMPA. The harvest of polar bears is overwhelmingly accomplished in accordance with Alaska Native values of honoring the animal and utilizing the entire animal once harvested, and the MMPA.
Kaktovik, Alaska is an Iñupiaq community located in the high Arctic on Barter Island in the Beaufort Sea. It has fewer than 300 residents, and is only accessible by bush plane; like most of remote Alaska it is not connected to any other community by road. Subsistence is an essential component of life in Kaktovik, and caribou, bowhead whale, and polar bear comprise a significant portion of residents’ diets. Human-polar bear interactions occur in high volume, and managing those interactions is a fundamental public safety activity.
For more information contact:
ANCC Executive Director