Dramatic Footage of Walruses in Alaskan and Russian Arctic Highlights Threats From Climate Chang

Planet Earth


Retreating Sea Ice Forces Walruses Ashore, with Deadly Consequences for Calves 

For Release: Oct 01, 2009
Joe Pouliot
(202) 495-4730

Anchorage, Alaska, October 1, 2009 – World Wildlife Fund has obtained dramatic high definition footage along the Arctic shorelines of Russia and Alaska showing the dramatic impact climate change is having on walruses.  Earlier today, an investigative team led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued preliminary findings explaining the mass death of young walrus calves that is captured on the WWF footage. 

The Alaska footage shows some of the more than 100 walrus carcasses that were spotted on September 14 by US Geological Survey (USGS) researchers flying near Icy Cape, southwest of Barrow, Alaska. Days prior to that sighting, a massive heard of walruses was seen congregated on the shore.  According to the preliminary report released today by the FWS team, which included USGS, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, a total of 131 carcasses, mostly calves and yearlings, were found.  Their conclusion was that “the cause of death was consistent with trampling by other walruses.”


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