" Walrus facing extinction! " Global warning
Written by j3lu on October 5, 2010
We heard about - Stranded Whales and Orcas - This Blog is - Stranded Walrus facing extinction! -
The biggest threat facing walruses today is climate change.
Historically, walruses were hunted commercially for their ivory tusks, oil and hides. Today they are hunted to a lesser degree.
Scientists recognize two subspecies of walrus - The Atlantic walrus and the Pacific walrus. The mustached and long-tusked walrus is most often found near the Arctic Circle, lying on the ice with hundreds of companions. They are cinnamon brown in color, a large marine mammal with large front flippers each has five digits, a broad head, short muzzle, small eyes, tusks and whiskers. They are able to turn their hind flippers forward to aid in movement on land.
Males have special air sacs that are used to make a bell-like sound. Both males and females have large tusks that are used for defense, cutting through ice and getting out of the water. The tusks can be more than three feet long in males and about two and a half feet long in females. These marine mammals are extremely sociable, prone to loudly bellowing and snorting at one another, but are aggressive during mating season.
Females with leave their young in safety on the sea ice while they forage, then haul out to nurse their calves. The accelerating retreat of sea ice puts the newborns’ safe haven farther away from the mothers’ food—meaning long, exhausting swims for the mothers, and more time alone for the calves.
Walruses feed on the ocean floor in the relatively shallow waters of the continental shelf, where the sea ice itself sustains a rich food web. Algae grow in long trailing strands at the edge of the ice and in the nearby waters. These algae are eaten by tiny animals called zooplankton, which in turn feed larger animals. At every step along the way, particles of food and nutrients “rain” down onto the ocean floor, sustaining the massive beds of mollusks on which walruses feast.
GLOBAL WARNING A DANGER FOR HUMANITY
More Solid Evidence of Global Warming.
In those years, Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.
Loss of sea ice in the area this summer has surprised scientists because last winter old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there has been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming.
"We'll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."
New images have been released showing thousands of walruses packed onto a small stretch of beach in northwest Alaska.
The walruses have come ashore because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted, according to reports. US government scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States, but it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. Footage released this week by the US Geological Survey shows the horde of walruses packed shoulder-to-shoulder across an area of close to 1.6km.
It is not known how long the walrus camp-out will last.
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