20,000 Walrus now Hauled out at Point Lay, Alaska

September 2, 2011

Nick Sundt of World Wildlife Fund writes:

Thu, 09/01/2011 – 16:20

Just weeks before Arctic sea ice extent reaches a record or near-record annual low, observers estimate that over 20,000 walruses have hauled-out near Point Lay, Alaska.  The aerial observers also have spotted dead walruses on their flights over the Chukchi Sea.

By 17 August, approximately 8,000 walruses were observed during a survey flight of the Chukchi Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) marine mammal aerial survey project (see 8,000 Walruses Congregate along Alaska Shoreline, Unable to Find Sea Ice Near Feeding Areas,   WWF Climate Blog, 19 August).  Another COMIDA flight two days later (19 August) reported [PDF] their numbers had grown to about 10,000 walruses.

Less than a week later, COMIDA observers on 24 August estimated that the number of walruses had doubled to roughly 20,000.  They also reported seeing four dead walruses during that same flight over the Chukchi sea.  Several dead walruses also were reported by observers on the 26 August flight and the 27 August flight.

Last year an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 walruses ultimately hauled-out near Point Lay.  Arctic sea ice extent by 31 August 2011 had dropped well below 2010 levels and may drop below record 2007 levels within days.

Arctic Sea Ice Decline, Online Resources

2 Responses to “20,000 Walrus now Hauled out at Point Lay, Alaska”

  1. otter17 Says:

    Sorry for making you guys hang out on land more nowadays. Lean times.


  2. […] why the survival of both is now threatened. This summer, to pick just one example, we’re seeing record numbers of walruses on beaches—because they can’t find ice floes close enough to the shoreline for breeding. Then there are […]


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