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An adult female walrus rests on the edge of a large haulout

Detailed Description

Walruses gathered by the tens of thousands in September 2013 to rest on the shores of the Chukchi Sea near the coastal village of Point Lay, Alaska. Walruses are finding it increasingly difficult to remain offshore in over their preferred foraging grounds in the eastern Chukchi Sea due to unprecedented loss of sea ice in the autumn, which has completely disappeared during 5 of the past 7 years. Drifting sea ice gives walruses a platform to rest on between foraging dives. Without sea ice walruses turn to shore to rest, which forces them to either to commute offshore foraging grounds or to forage near­shore over lower quality foraging grounds. The USGS Walrus Research Project is focused on tracking tagged walrus to understand how a loss of sea ice may be affecting the walrus. (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652­3)


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