Florida man fined for illegally killing black bear in Alaska


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Florida man has been fined $8,000 for illegally killing a black bear in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew M. Scoble on Monday fined James L. Connolly, 63, of St. Petersburg, Florida. Connolly was also ordered to forfeit the bear hide and serve two years of probation, during which he is not allowed to hunt anywhere in the United States.

Connolly previously pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Lacey Act, according to a release from Alaska U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder’s office.

Connolly’s attorney, Joseph Raymond Skrha in Kenai, Alaska, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Connolly shot and killed the black bear in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area inside the national refuge on May 17, 2018, according to court documents. He then took the carcass to a tannery in California, which shipped it to Connolly in Florida.

Law enforcement officials matched DNA taken at the kill site to samples taken from the bear Connolly had in Florida.

Scoble called Connolly’s actions “abhorrent,” especially since he traveled to Alaska with the intent to hunt and kill a wild animal without knowing the proper areas where he could legally take an animal, according to the release.