AMAZING Underwater Walrus Photography

You have to check out this gallery of amazing underwater walrus photography by Goran Ehlme via the BBC:

Here’s the link. This is amazing stuff. I’m going to do some research on Goran’s work, and I’ll post a followup.

Walrus Attack!

I had seen the image that accompanies this blog post before, but a little searching turned up the story that goes along with it…

Walrus attack
That's one big walrus!

…suddenly right in front of our boat the water exploded up and an enormous whiskered face launched up out of the water. He was so close that he put a front flipper up against the kayak and I could smell his breath. Walrus are HUGE, and those tusks are not small either! He dipped back under the water and I thought he was going to come up from under us and try tip us over.

This is an old blog post, from 2005, but the picture gives a great idea of how large a walrus is compared to a low-riding sea kayak. This encounter must have been frightening indeed.

Here’s the link to the original post, at
Never Mind The Polar Bears, Beware of the Walrus!

Today Show Highlights Plight of the Pacific Walrus

My buddy Kevin who works for the NASA Earth Observatory, Twittered me a link to a WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not World Wrestling Federation) story about the recent haul-outs in Alaska and Russia. I have a post in drafts about that, but he also alerted me to the fact that the Today Show ran a piece about the haul-out and the retreat of sea ice. Since I don’t watch Today since I, you know, have a job during the day – I had no idea about this piece. It’s online though, and here’s the link.

Greenpeace: Pacific Walrus Require the Protections of the ESA

Here is a link to a form letter to Congress, via Greenpeace, on behalf of the Pacific Walrus. You can customize the text of the letter, but the supplied text of the letter reads:

The Pacific walrus meets the criteria for listing under the Endangered Species Act and must be listed immediately if it’s to have a chance at survival and recovery.

An unprecedented number of walruses have hauled out on the North Slope of Alaska this summer because their sea ice habitat has retreated hundreds of miles away. Walruses that are forced to haul out on land have a harder time finding food and are more vulnerable to disturbances that could lead to stampeding and trampling mortalities.

The recently-released U.S. Geological Survey study shows a 40% chance that walrus will be on a pathway to extinction by the end of this century. As scary as those odds are, they are likely far too optimistic because the study relied on  modeling that underestimates greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and rates of Arctic sea-ice loss.
The report also dismissed as negligible the impacts from reduced food supply for the walrus. Sea-ice loss in the Bering Sea is already leading to declines in the walrus’s bottom-dwelling prey; ocean acidification is making Arctic waters increasingly corrosive and potentially lethal to the clams and mussels it eats. Still, the USGS determined that these threats have negligible influences on the walrus’s future. The study would have found a significantly worse outlook for  walruses if it had used more realistic assessments of these threats.

The Pacific walrus needs the full protections of the Endangered Species Act to survive into the coming century. Please list the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act, designate critical habitat, and design and implement a recovery plan as soon as possible.

Here is the link to the form/letter:

At the risk of being added to Greenpeace’s mailing lists – I will be filling out this form.

Onshore walrus migration in Alaska due to melting sea ice

I’ll look for some more info and maybe pictures related to this story. Hopefully, the coming winter will rebuild some of the ice, but it looks like bleak times for our friend the Pacific Walrus….

Pacific Walrus Faces Dire Future

This is surely what the Very Worried Walrus is worried about!

A sobering press release today from the Center for Biological Diversity:

A new federal report today finds there’s a 40-percent chance that the Pacific walrus, a species imperiled by loss of sea ice due to global warming, will be on a pathway to extinction by the end of the century.

Global warming, regardless of your political position on the issue, or whether it represents a (geologic) short-term change or a long term shift in the planet’s climate, is a serious threat to all cold climate large animals, particularly our beloved Walrus and the polar bear.

Here’s a link to the complete document.

I need to see these animals in the wild before it’s too late, and I need to make sure I take my son with me.