Alaska man charged with killing polar bear

Climate change is driving polar bears closer to human centres, where they are not always welcome.
Climate change is driving polar bears closer to human centres, where they are not always welcome.

An Alaska man has been charged with the illegal killing of a polar bear in violation of federal law, as global warming leads the bears closer to human settlement.

Chris Gordon of Kaktovik shot the bear outside his home, leaving the carcass there for five months without salvaging any part of it, according to federal prosecutors.

He'd left whale meat outside his home, which attracted the bear.

Gordon, 35, faces a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 if convicted, Alaska's Energy Desk reported .

Self-defence killings of animals are allowed and coastal Alaska Natives may harvest polar bears for crafts or subsistence, but not in a wasteful way.

The North Slope village has become a destination for tourists and polar bears in a warming Arctic.

Mike Gallagher, a city council member in the village, is among Kaktovik residents who have expressed concerns about the encroaching bears.

"The bear's underneath my house in the morning when I go to work," Gallagher said at a public meeting in June. "Would it be your kid? Would it be my kid? It could be anybody down the street. These bears are getting used to people. They're domesticated."

Australian Associated Press