The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announce that some Pacific walrus groups gathered on the Alaska shores again. It is the eighth year in a decade when specialists account for this behavior from the large sea mammals. Researchers believe that global warming is driving the animals to the islands.
Authorities state that, so far, there are about one thousand individuals on the Pacific walrus groups gathered on the Alaska shores. They are located near Point Lay. However, researchers expect much more individuals to arrive, as this is only the beginning. Last year, no less than thirty-five thousand individuals spent the cold season in Alaska.
Walruses are marine animals which like to spend their time of the sea ice at the North Pole. However, the lowering bed of ice made them leave the area in search of new proper places. They found Alaska’s rocky shores just as good. They started they tradition nine years ago, back in 2007.
It was easy for researchers to link the walruses tendency of coming to Alaska to climate change. This year, they expected the animals to show up earlier, as they did it each fall. However, authorities in Point Lay announced the arrival of the Pacific walrus groups only on October 7.
Walruses use the sea ice to hunt and be safe from predators, such as polar bears. However, the shrinking of the Arctic sea ice endangers them too. On the other hand, they have the advantage of being good swimmers, something which polar bears lack. So the latter are threatened by climate change to a larger extent than walruses.
The Pacific walrus groups which gather on the Alaska shores are protected by local authorities. People in the community do hunt the animals, but there are specially assigned areas for the task. Authorities required residents not to disturb the mammals resting on their shores.
Biologists draw people’s attention that if they interfere with the walruses activity, the animals could get scared. They fear that they would rapidly head towards the water for an escape, and they would crush babies under they large bodies. Male adults can weigh more than two thousand kilograms.
People in the Arctic have a rich tradition in hunting walruses. The animals are hunted for they meat, fat and tusks. Human activities have often led to the decline of the animals’ populations. Some of them haven’t recovered yet. This is why authorities impose strict regulations about the Pacific walrus groups which have recently arrived on the Alaska shores.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia