Four Point Hope men are facing federal charges for allegedly killing a number of walruses near Cape Lisburne and leaving behind most of the carcasses, taking only the ivory tusks.

The accused men are Adam Thomas Sage, Michael Tuzroyluk Jr., Guy Tuzroyluk and Jacob John Peel Lane. All four had subsistence hunting rights, but the U.S. Attorney’s office said in charging documents they wasted of the bodies of the walruses, which goes against federal subsistence requirements that no “substantial portion” be left unused. Meat, bones, tusks, organs and other body parts can be used crafts or clothing, as well as food.

walruses dead

US Fish & Wildlife Service photo

Last year in mid-September, 25 walruses were found shot to death 50 miles north of Point Hope, including a dozen babies, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Charging documents show the men shot and killed at least eight walruses on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4, 2015. “Numerous” other walruses were also listed. The men are charged with killing some of the walruses for simply being near the group, which can cause stampedes that could kill some animals crushed under larger, panicked walruses.

The men each face three counts of wasteful subsistence taking of marine mammals and two counts of wasteful subsistence taking by harassment of marine animals. Each offense carries a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine and a year in prison, along with a potential civil penalty of up to $10,000.

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