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Umky Patrol: Protecting us from polar bears, protecting walrus from themselves.

This video just showed up on YouTube.  This is from the from the World Wildlife Fund and explains their “Umky Patrols” which is a partnership with the Chukchi in Northern Russia. Primarily to keep polar bears from continuing to intrude on villages and become scavengers, the patrols are also protecting the large walrus haul-outs occurring (apparently) on the Russian “side” as well. Their protection of the walrus is centered on controlling panicked stampedes among the large haul outs, which result in crushed calf walruses. The walrus portion of this video starts at 1:29, although there are some disturbing images of dead walrus – so this one’s probably not for the younger kids.

The Umky Patrol highlighted here is in Russia – but we’ve got the same issues going on in Alaska. In fact the Chuchki apparently recently visited their counterparts in Alaska to share expertise and hopefully extend the protective efforts to “our” fragile Arctic animals as well.

Chukotka, by the way – is directly across the Bering Strait from Alaska and is the closest Russian territory to the US. That part of Russia that Sarah Palin can “see” from her back porch – it’d be Chukotka. That would make these Pacific Walruses.

For more on WWF’s work in the Arctic, and on the Umky Patrol, visit: http://www.panda.org/arctic

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