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Published:September 21st, 2010 20:51 EST
Disappearing Sea Ice Forces Walruses to Alaskan Shores

Disappearing Sea Ice Forces Walruses to Alaskan Shores

By Inactive Writer

Walruses are coming to northwest Alaskan shores in droves due to the ice they once walked upon melting away.

walrusThe Chukchi Sea near Point Lay, AK  is where females raise their young in the summers while the males go play in the Bering Sea. The females sprawl out on the ice and dive for food, which usually consists of clams and worms from the sea floor. Scientists main concern is the one-ton females trampling each other and their calves to death in their quest away from the dissipating ice.

According to a telephone interview to, U.S. Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach says he is unsure as to how long the migration to the shore will last, but there should be plenty of food for the displaced walruses.

He added, "When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it`s a long commute. This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."

Scientists say this kind of migration is uncommon in the US, but that it has happened twice before. In those times, 2007 and 2009, Arctic sea ice was at or around record low levels.

The long-term decline in Arctic ice is blamed on global warming by at least one scientist, even though there have been improvements in previous years. Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO says "We`ll likely see more summers like this. There is no sign of Arctic recovery."

In the meantime, the federal government is considering placing walruses on the endangered species list, and officials have asked locals to use good judgment as it pertains to hunting them.

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Note: The author of this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.