With Arctic sea ice at the third lowest level in recorded history, it’s not only polar bears that are facing climate change challenges. Tens of thousands of walruses are coming ashore in northwest Alaska, which is unusual behavior. The situation could prove dangerous, since walruses are easily startled and might stampede, trampling their young.
Like polar bears, walruses use sea ice as platforms between feedings. When at sea without these places to haul-out on, the young, especially, may also die from exhaustion due to prolonged exposure to open-sea conditions and from being separated from their mothers.
The following footage taken by the United States Geological Survey shows the first time the walruses have been seen crowded together in such numbers on this shore of the Chukchi Sea.
Polar bears may get all the global warming “press,” but the message these perhaps less charismatic animals are sending should be also be heard, loud and clear.