Wall to wall walrus …

It seems a shame,’ the Walrus said,
      To play them such a trick,
Dreadfully sad news for the Walrus.
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.
628x471It’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.”

I’m sure it brings a tear to the eye …

I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
      I deeply sympathize.’
Funnily enough this strange new behaviour, hauling out on land, has been noted before. The walrus was virtually unknown to Europeans until 1604 when the good ship “Speed”, commanded by Stephen Bennet, on its way back from the Kola Peninsula, came across a haulout of Walrus. Naturally they slaughtered a goodly number for their tusks, leaving the meat to rot on the beach.
The size of this gathering could be seen as good news, plenty of oysters, perhaps. It may even be the result of creating a reserve for their protection

The Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary (WISGS), protects a group of seven small craggy islands and their adjacent waters in northern Bristol Bay, approximately 65 miles southwest of Dillingham. The WISGS includes Round Island, Summit Island, Crooked Island, High Island, Black Rock and The Twins. The WISGS was established in 1960 to protect one of the largest terrestrial haulout sites in North America for Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). The sanctuary also protects important habitats for several species of seabirds, Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and other marine and terrestrial birds and mammals. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) manages the sanctuary primarily to protect these important habitats and wildlife species, and secondarily to provide for public use and enjoyment of these resources including the opportunity for scientific and educational study, viewing, and photography.

Best known among the WISGS islands is Round Island, where each summer large numbers of male walruses haul out on exposed, rocky beaches. Round Island is one of four major terrestrial haulouts in Alaska; the others are Capes Peirce (Togiak NWR), Newenham (Togiak NWR), and Seniavin (near Port Moller). Male walrus return to these haulouts every spring as the ice pack recedes northward, remaining in Bristol Bay to feed they haul out at these beach sites for several days between each feeding foray. The number of walrus using the island fluctuates significantly from year to year. However, up to 14,000 walrus have been counted on Round Island in a single day.

So maybe it’s business as usual for the walrus they just gather round and talk

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’
You can read Lewis Carroll’s poem <HERE>.

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