Walruses use sea ice as a platform for diving to reach clams and sea snails on the ocean floor.
ANCHORAGE —Four Alaskans who shot several walruses without keeping the meat and caused stampedes that killed about two dozen more animals have been sentenced to probation, restitution and community service.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that Adam Sage, Michael Tuzroyluk, Guy Tuzroyluk and Jacob Lane will be banned from hunting walruses for a year.
All four men are from Point Hope, a village on Alaska’s northwest coast.
Walruses use sea ice as a platform for diving to reach clams and sea snails on the ocean floor. A lack of sea ice in recent years has forced walruses to instead rest on shore in late summer. An estimated 35,000 walruses were photographed in early September 2015 near Point Lay.
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A few weeks later, a person connected to a remote Air Force radar station photographed more than two dozen dead walruses at Cape Lisburne, 230 miles northeast of the Bering Strait.
Only Alaska Natives who live in the state may hunt walruses. Killing walruses only for the ivory is illegal.
Federal prosecutors in September charged the four Point Hope men with misdemeanors in the case. All were qualified to hunt marine mammals for subsistence purposes.
Prosecutors said the men made two hunting trips to Cape Lisburne, where up to 1,000 walruses were on shore. They shot several walruses and salvaged only the tusks.
Stampedes that followed the shootings killed or injured at least two dozen more walruses. About half were calves. Those animals also were left to rot.
Lane was sentenced Friday in Fairbanks and the other three were sentenced within the last month.
The Point Hope Native Village Council recommended terms of the men’s three-year probation.
The men were ordered to pay $1,000 restitution for walrus-conservation projects on national wildlife refuges. They were banned from hunting walruses for a year and ordered to hunt for subsistence needs of Point Hope elders during probation.
The men also were ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and to publicly apologize to the village council and to Point Hope whaling captains.