2014-10-01. 35,000 walrus come ashore in northwest Alaska.

posted Oct 1, 2014, 3:36 PM by Alan Gould

For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpts: ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Pacific walrus that can't find sea ice for resting in Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers on a beach in northwest Alaska. An estimated 35,000 walrus were photographed Saturday about 5 miles north of Point Lay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ...The enormous gathering was spotted during NOAA's annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey, spokeswoman Julie Speegle said by email. ...The gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed. ...Unlike seals, walrus cannot swim indefinitely and must rest. They use their tusks to "haul out," or pull themselves onto ice or rocks. ..."It's another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss," said Margaret Williams, managing director of the group's Arctic program, by phone from Washington, D.C. "The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change." This summer, the sea ice's annual low point was the sixth smallest since satellite monitoring began in 1979.... http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/35-000-walrus-come-ashore-in-northwest-Alaska-5791705.php. By Dan Joling, Associated Press.