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Enumeration of Pacific walrus carcasses on beaches of the Chukchi Sea in Alaska following a mortality event, September 2009

December 22, 2009

On September 14, 2009, we encountered substantial numbers of fresh walrus carcasses on the Alaskan shores of the Chukchi Sea near Icy Cape. We enumerated 131 carcasses using geo-referenced strip transect photography and visual counts of solitary carcasses. All appeared to be young animals based on review of aerial photographs and reference to 12 carcasses that we examined on the ground. The events that led to the death of these animals are unknown, but appear to be related to the loss of sea ice over the Chukchi Sea continental shelf. In years prior to this event, other investigators have linked walrus deaths at other Chukchi Sea coastal haulouts to trampling, exhaustion from prolonged exposure to open sea conditions, and separation of calves from their mothers.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Enumeration of Pacific walrus carcasses on beaches of the Chukchi Sea in Alaska following a mortality event, September 2009
DOI 10.3133/ofr20091291
Authors Anthony S. Fischbach, Daniel H. Monson, C.V. Jay
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2009-1291
Index ID ofr20091291
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center

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