The bones were stolen from a home in Lyons sometime in the last month, according to the Ionia County Sheriff's Office. The unusual items are typically highly regulated by the government, and cannot be bought or sold without the proper licenses and paperwork. However, the victim of the theft was properly licensed to have them.
Pacific walrus are protected by the Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972. The federal law allows for Alaskan Natives in costal communities to harvest walrus for subsistence purposes. They use the animal's meat and blubber for basic food and nutrition needs, and the inedible parts of the walrus are used to make boats, tools, clothing, spiritual items and artwork. According to federal law, walrus ivory offered for sale can only be carved by Alaska Native artists.
“We would like to get these items back to the owner undamaged and intact,” police said in a statement. The owner of the bones is offering a $500 reward for their safe return. Anyone with any information about the skulls is urged to contact the Ionia County Sheriff's Office by calling (616)527-5737.