Update: 42 a few minutes ago Published: 47 a few minutes ago
The star of a reality TV series called ‘The Bear Whisperer’ is facing federal criminal charges that accuse him of illegally hunting black bears in Kenai Fjords National Park and lying to state authorities about where he killed one.
Harvey Neil Anthony, a 55-year-old man from Maine, is called Blaine Anthony in the television series he also produces.
On Friday, federal prosecutors charged Anthony with two counts of violating the Lacey Act. The law makes it a federal crime to violate the wildlife laws of any state, tribe, or foreign country and then move or trade wildlife across US borders.
“The Bear Whisperer” first aired in 2011 and is a hunting show that focuses on Anthony’s interactions with animals. The show aired on Sportsman Channel and Pursuit Channel. In several episodes, Anthony worked with Maine state wildlife biologists to enter bear dens and tag bears with tracking devices, ostensibly to help researchers monitor the population.
The show’s website was unavailable on Wednesday and displayed a message that it was under construction.
Kenai Fjords National Park covers nearly 670,000 acres on the Kenai Peninsula west of Seward. Hunting is prohibited in the park.
Anthony participated in at least eight black bear hunting trips on the Kenai Peninsula between 2011 and 2019, according to federal charges against him in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. A film crew from Nature Productions, which Anthony owns, accompanied him on those trips, the criminal complaint states. There was also another person, whom prosecutors did not identify but described as an Alaskan who was driving a boat.
On a trip in May 2017, Anthony shot and then transported the dead bear from Pilot Harbor, an area inside Kenai Fjords National Park, to Homer in the boat, according to the complaint. Footage of the hunt was later shown on “The Bear Whisperer”, according to authorities.
Anthony then filed a forged seal certificate with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game claiming he shot the bear in Berger’s Bay, according to the complaint. The bay is located on Nuka Island and about 30 km from the area where prosecutors said the animal was killed.
A state wildlife biologist in the area did not immediately respond to a request for additional information Wednesday.
Anthony had the bear taxidermied and it was then transported to Maine, authorities said.
The complaint says footage from Anthony’s trips to Alaska in 2015 and 2017 was included on his show and that two black bears were seen being killed on park land.
From the charging documents, it was unclear how investigators determined the bears were killed inside the park. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska did not immediately respond to a message regarding the case.
A Kenai Fjords National Park spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the ongoing court case.
Anthony is due to appear for a virtual arraignment hearing next month. A message left with Nature Productions was not immediately returned on Wednesday.
The charges filed in Anchorage do not identify the attorney representing Anthony.