Kaktovik is crawling with polar bears. Now a man is going to prison for wasting one.

Mar 12, 2020

At the southern edge of Kaktovik, a tiny village on Alaska’s North Slope, the polar bear came around Chris Gordon’s yard on a winter night in 2018. He’d left whale meat out that was being prepared for a village feast, a common practice.

The bear wouldn’t go away. Gordon shot and killed it. Polar bears are a federally protected marine mammal listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Federal prosecutors have charging a North Slope whaling captain with killing a polar bear in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Prosecutors said Chris Gordon, 35, shot the bear outside his home in the coastal Alaska village of Kaktovik, which has become a destination for both polar bears and tourists as Arctic sea ice has melted.

The Trump administration will soon take a big step toward drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It hopes to sell leases to companies before the end of the year.