A gathering of 10,000 walrus in Alaska can apparently be blamed on global warming according to the data.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, global warming has been a hot topic for a long time, with some calling global warming a hoax, and others so disgusted with the politics of global warming they remain unconvinced of the human impact of the phenomenon.
However, tell that to the 10,000 walrus in Alaska. the reason global warming is being blamed is because of the melting of the sea shelves the walruses use as a “winter home”. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that 10,000 walrus in Alaska made camp last Friday on a small barrier island called Point Lay.
Point Lay is an Eskimo village 700 miles northwest of Anchorage. While Alaska does see its share of walruses, usually they spend the winter on ice shelves in the Bering Sea, not onshore. Thus, it is very unusual to see 10,000 walrus in Alaska at the beginning of their sea-faring season, an occurrence completely unseen until 2007.
This is not the first time the phenomena has occurred, but it is the first time 10,000 walrus are in Alaska, at this time of year. Previous occurrences of walrus gatherings like this one are off and on, depending on the amount of sea ice available to them. Large amount of walrus have grouped in 2011, 2009 and 2007.
Female walruses usually give birth on sea ice and use the ice as a platform to reach snails, clams and worms on the shallow continental shelf. Currently, though, the only ice available to the walruses are too far out to be of much use to them, now only being found in waters 10,000 in depth or more.
The walruses are being observed in a study to determine sea mammal abundance in areas with the potential for natural gas and oil development and is being conducted with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, who oversees offshore leases. Unfortunately, groups of walrus of this size are hazardous to the animals, who are in danger from stampedes that can be caused by airplanes, hunters or polar bears.
Summer sea ice levels have also been effected by global warming. Environmental groups are concerned that further development of oil or natural gas development in the area will further stress all marine mammals, our 10,000 walrus in Alaska included. Future development in the area would only contribute more to the problem and cause more damage to naturally occurring sea ice. But walruses aren’t the only ones NOAA is interested in, they just happened to catch the eye of the scientists.
Marine mammal scientist Megan Ferguson reported:
In addition to photographing the walrus haulout area, NOAA scientists documented more bowhead whales, including calves and feeding adults in the Beaufort Sea this summer compared to 2012. We are also seeing more gray whale calves in the Chukchi Sea than we have in recent years.
What do you think of the 10,000 walrus in Alaska? Should it be blamed on global warming or are they just confused?