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Man charged in Alaska for killing a polar bear, burning the body after letting it rot for 5 months

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Polar bear Tonja yawns as she sits on the frozen pond in her enclosure at the Tierpark zoo in Berlin on March 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Paul Zinken / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read PAUL ZINKEN/AFP/Getty Images)

KAKTOVIK, Ala. — A man in an Alaska village has been charged with federal crimes for allegedly killing a polar bear and leaving it to rot for five months.

Christopher Gordon of Kaktovik is accused of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act after he allegedly shot and killed a polar bear around December 20, 2018.

Gordon has been charged with knowingly taking a polar bear in a manner unlawful under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and with one count of wasteful taking of a marine animal.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service led the investigation.

Katkovik, with about 250 residents, is some 640 miles north of Anchorage.

Officials say Gordon improperly stored whale meat in his front yard, which attracted the polar bear. Gordon allegedly shot and killed the polar bear for trying to eat the whale meat, not to defend himself or someone else.

Investigators say the carcass sat in Gordon’s yard from late December until May, when a snow removal vehicle hit the bear’s body and tore off one of its legs.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Gordon was allowed to harvest the polar bear for “subsistence or other purposes,” but not in a wasteful manner. Officials say he chose let the carcass rot, and he eventually took it to the Kaktovik dump to be burned without using any part of the bear for sustenance.

Gordon faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted.

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