Four sentenced for 2015 walrus slaughter near Cape Lisburne

Courtesy Samuel Devon

POINT HOPE, Alaska (KTUU) - Four Point Hope men have each been sentenced to three years of probation and numerous other penalties for the wasteful slaughter of several walrus near Cape Lisburne in September of 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Prosecutors say the four defendants—identified as 24-year-old Adam T. Sage, 21-year-old Michael R. Tuzroyluk Jr., 27-year-old Guy S. Tuzroyluk, and 24-year-old Jacob Lane—shot the walruses during two hunting trips, salvaging only the animals’ ivory tusks and leaving the rest to waste.

At the time, there were as many as 1,000 walrus hauled out on the beach near Cape Lisburne. Prosecutors say the shootings also the large herd to stampede, which killed or injured as many as two dozen more walrus, about half of them calves.

The incident was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the North Slope Borough, the Interior Department Inspector General’s Office and the Alaska Sea Life Center. Last year, authorities announced that the four men had been charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They later pleaded guilty to the charges.

“In issuing the sentences, the court accepted the concurrent sentencing recommendations of the tribal government of the Native Village of Point Hope, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," prosecutors wrote in a press release.

In addition to the thee years of probation, the defendants were also issued the following penalties, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office:

  • Pay $1000 restitution to be used for walrus conservation projects on Alaskan National Wildlife Refuges

  • Perform 500 hours of community service in Point Hope

  • Publicly apologize for their offenses to the Native Village of Point Hope Council and the Point Hope whaling captains

  • Make 12 public presentations in Point Hope and other coastal villages on hunting ethics and the legal duty to salvage in full any animal taken

  • No hunting of walrus for one year

  • Hunt for the subsistence needs of Point Hope elders during probation.

Courtesy Samuel Devon
Courtesy Samuel Devon
Courtesy Samuel Devon