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Climate Change Beaches 20,000 Walruses [Video]

Climate Change Beaches 20,000 Walruses [Video]

 

Government scientists recently captured compelling video evidence that climate change puts Alaskan walruses at risk.

Typically, these creatures spend their summers far from shore, searching for in the Chukchi Sea and resting on floating sea ice when they get tired.

But thanks to climate change, this year’s sea ice levels are among the lowest in recorded history. So for the fourth year in a row, thousands of walruses have returned to shore in search of food.

 

The only problem is food is far less accessible on land, and when this many walruses haul out at once, the competition is fierce.

For an animal being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the unusual behavior is problematic. Most of the animals clustered onshore are females with calves, and calves can be trampled to death when so many animals crowd together, said Chad Jay, walrus project leader for the USGS’ Alaska Science Center (LA Times).

“Climate change has forced Arctic sea ice into a downward spiral with disastrous results: Polar bear litter sizes are dwindling, walruses are crowding ashore and Alaskan communities are relocating due to extreme erosion and storm surges,” Lou Leonard, climate change director for the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement about the walrus haul-out.

Two dead walruses were among the animals seen during an aerial sighting of the haul-out on Aug. 26. Last year, several dead calves were left behind on land.

 

Related Reading:

10,000 Walruses Forced Ashore In Alaska

Will The Walrus Become Extinct Too?

Polar Bear Swims For 9 Days Before Finding Ice

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Image Credit: Flickr - NOAA Photo Library

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173 comments

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1:01PM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:49AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Tragic.

7:47AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Thanks

12:19AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

This is just part of the TOPICAL damage caused by human contributions. Nature in balance, as it was, could handle natural adjustmentas needed. This is not totally natural and the combination of the two will lead to further irreversible destruction and extinction.

Wonder whst damage lies BELOW.

2:13PM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

that is such a tragedy! I hope something is done and soon...

9:37AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

So sad,something needs to be done...soon.

8:47PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Thanks Geraldine H. for the Green Star, and you very appropriate comment. We certainly agree!

10:45AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Geraldine, greed is a given. Complaining about it is like complaining about the wind. Either work with human frailties, including greed, or don't get your goals accomplished and raise your blood pressure very high. We need to work with market forces to incentivize green goals. The carbon credits idea seems to work with the market. There may be other ideas that would work with human self-interest rather than against human self-interest.

10:38AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

All the species that have vanished from the earth .. Now we have the science and knowledge to save some of them ... but greed just gets in the way!!!!

10:12AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

The word "climate" comes from the Greek root "change". [Just kidding] It is the nature of climate to change. This does not mean that human beings have anything to do with it.

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