WARNING: This video contains graphic content and violent imagery.
The footage is horrifying. Two Alaskan men approach the den of a mother bear and her two newborn cubs and shoot them at point-blank range.
You can hear the cubs screaming in terror as they’re shot. The men toss the cubs aside and violently butcher their mother, hacking her to pieces.
As life leaves the bears’ innocent eyes, the men can be seen posing with their listless bodies for pictures. They return days later to throw the bodies of the cubs away and gather shell casings.
The bears were a part of a study conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Forest Service, which is why the den was under surveillance. The video was released by the Humane Society of the United States last week, although the crime occurred nearly a year ago.
The two men’s brutal assault on these bears is inexcusable. Although they were charged for crime, the sentence was a pitiful 3 months for one man and zero jail time for the other.
The punishment does not fit the crime and sets a precedent that anyone can take the lives of mothers and children in the wild and get away with it.
Write to Alaskan governor Michael J. Dunleavy to urge him to pass stronger protections for animals in the state — so hunters are held accountable, and get more than just a slap on the wrist for such violent crimes.