Teresa Cotsirilos


Teresa Cotsirilos reports on crime, criminal justice and public health in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Cotsirilos most recently reported for Oakland North, where she covered Black Lives Matter and the Oakland Police Department. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Nation and other publications.

Prior to becoming a journalist, Cotsirilos sold eyepatches and other pirate supplies in San Francisco, wrote for a travel guide in Jerusalem and taught sexual education in rural Namibia. Please send her news tips at

Michael Whitney visits with local children in Kipnuk.
Courtesy of Michael Whitney.

On Friday, Wildlife Officer Michael Whitney stood in front of a floor-to-ceiling map of Alaska and pointed out each of the Delta villages he works with. "We cover up there, to the coast," he said. "Up through Scammon Bay, Hooper Bay, Kotlik..."

Silver salmon fills the bottom of a boat during a subsistence opening in August 2016 near Bethel.
Katie Basile/KYUK

The plight of the company that wanted to come to the Kuskokwim to buy fish appears to have worsened. 

Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams played an integral part in salvaging the gray whale carcass outside of Napaskiak.
Katie Basile/KYUK

It’s been almost a week since volunteers pulled a gray whale’s carcass to shore near Napaskiak, and Delta residents have cut it down to its bones. Local leaders expect the whale to feed hundreds of people, its blubber and meat shared with villages up and down the Kuskokwim River. It was a busy weekend for them: working around the clock to salvage the carcass, and hoping to avert a social media backlash and legal consequences.

Wade Moses Lupie has been found at the Bethel library.

Wade Moses Lupie.
Courtesy of Bethel Police Department.

Update 4:30 p.m.: Bethel Police report that Wade Moses Lupie, age 11, has been found in the Bethel Library.

The Bethel Police are searching for an 11-year-old boy and have asked the community for help. Wade Moses Lupie was reported missing by his family yesterday at about 11:40 p.m. He was last seen at 216 City Subdivision wearing a black sweater and gray sweatpants. Wade was also holding a black backpack. The Bethel PD is currently interviewing Wade’s friends and family.

Two girls in Kwethluk wait with a puppy at the local fire station, where three vets from the non-profit Alaskia Native Rural Veterinary were working for the day.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

On a hot morning in Kwethluk, Brian Nicolai walked slowly down the road. Seven small, dusty puppies were scrambling after him.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Parts of the gray whale taken near Napaskiak on Thursday are traveling up and down the region. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

On Saturday night, a tired crew of volunteers dragged a large gray whale carcass onto shore near the Napaskiak airport. The whale was gray, bloody, and barnacled, and the men who set to work butchering it said that it was at least 37-feet long. Residents are still distributing its blubber and meat, saying that it will feed families throughout the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for months.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Meat and blubber from the whale killed Thursday evening in the Kuskokwim River is currently being distributed to surrounding villages. Six boats dragged the 37-foot long whale to shallow water between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. A yellow front end loader then carried the carcass to the Napaskiak shore. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Update 7:00 p.m.: Locals have pulled the whale from the Kuskokwim River onto the Napaskiak shore.

Original story 6:00 p.m.:

Locals continue working to drag the carcass of a large whale out of the Kuskokwim River. A team of boats outside of Napaskiak is still struggling to drag the sunken whale to shore. According to  Napaskiak Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams,  Joe Evon of Search and Rescue was able to hook the whale and drag it 20 feet this morning before the rope he was using snapped in two.