35,000 Walruses

The average male Walrus is something to behold – up to 11 feet long, 3700 pounds, punctuated with three foot tusks. Ponder 35,000 Walruses along a few thousand feet of Alaskan shoreline.

On September 27, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) captured the first image above during their annual aerial arctic marine mammal survey. Entwined along a one Kilometer beach near Point Lay Alaska, clustered Walruses represent a phenomenon known as “haul out”.
Hauling out – forced to rest on land rather than sea ice – hit scientific radar in 2007. Since then, diminished sea ice accounts for hauled out behemoths as the norm, rather than occasional exception.Ā  In a perfect world Walrus spend 80% of their time at sea. Summer found females and calves along the continental shelf, feeding in shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea between Russia and Alaska. Over the last decade, escalating sea ice melt – an irrefutable consequence of warmer arctic climate – has radically altered Walrus behavior.
Pondering hauled out Walrus populations might not present itself as earth shattering news. Considering this trend in perspective of climate change is. Debating the cause of global warming is best left for another day – understanding the reality, regardless of whether your tent is pitched in the natural cycle or carbon emissions camp, is what matters. Global warming is real – a reality with tangible implications.
Before I continue – a link to earthsky explaining arctic and antarctic ice…
Climate change eclipsed science a long time ago – it resides in the arena of political buzz words, special interest propaganda, and conspiracy alarmists. Amidst all the hullabaloo, we seem to have forgotten our faithful barometer – nature. Free of ulterior motives, financial gain, political posturing or plain old denial – nature speaks unbiased truth to the state of our affairs.
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7 thoughts on “35,000 Walruses

  1. As an unrelated story — not having to do with walruses….
    About 3 years ago there was an odd assemblage of sea lions on the Oregon Coast near Yachats. We saw the photos so we believe it, but the photos were so amazing that they defied belief. Some 10,000 sea lions from all over the West Coast crammed onto a small stretch of land. They seemed on that occasion to migrate from as far away as Frisco and San Diego — where suddenly there were none. The even lasted about 4-5 days and then they were gone. No one — to this day — knows why.

    I’m all onboard about the global warming — but there are also other animal events which boggle our minds and we have no understanding of. Can’t always be sure of the ’cause’ of animal behavior. We may blame it on something quite unrelated.

    As always…. you get me thinking

    • Point taken – events like the one you described, sudden mass “beaching” of whales, mysterious appearance of dead fish – nobody truly understands why. However – In the case of hauled out Walrus – it only happens when sea ice melts, leaving no alternative. Diminished arctic ice has a profound effect on arctic’s balance of nature. Polar bears, whales, walrus, migratory birds , all face radical adaptation or extinction. šŸ™‚

      • I with that people in power had smaller egos. I fear that the very nature of those who grasp for power makes them incapable of NOT trying to fix things, and too often our human efforts to FIX something has made it worse. Dunno…. Can’t see many scenarios where we actually make this global warming thing better.

      • It isn’t so much about making it better as acknowledging it’s real. Drastic climate shifts happen, that’s set in irrefutable stone. Making it a political issue, pointing fingers, curling into a clump of denial – won’t change a thing.We can debate the cause till blue in the face – or we can agree our world needs to adapt and prepare for nature kicking our oblivious asses.:)

  2. ” Free of ulterior motives, financial gain, political posturing or plain old denial ā€“ nature speaks unbiased truth to the state of our affairs.” If we don’t listen to nature we are doomed for sure.

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