Wall of walrus: 35,000 come ashore in Alaska Some 1500 walrus gather on the northwest coast of Alaska (- AP photos)
Wall of walrus: 35,000 come ashore in Alaska
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What's the plural of walrus? Walrus.

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. Point Lay is an Inupiat Eskimo village 700 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

The enormous gathering was spotted during NOAA's annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey.

Andrea Medeiros, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said walrus were first spotted Sept. 13. They have been moving on and off shore. Observers last week saw about 50 carcasses on the beach from animals that may have been killed in a stampede. The agency was assembling a team to determine their cause of death.

The gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.

Pacific walrus spend winters in the Bering Sea. Females give birth on sea ice. They use ice as a diving platform to reach snails, clams and worms on the shallow continental shelf.

Unlike seals, walrus cannot swim indefinitely and must rest. They use their tusks to pull themselves onto ice or rocks.

As temperatures warm in summer, the edge of the sea ice recedes north. Females and their young ride the edge of the sea ice into the Chukchi Sea. That's the body of water north of the Bering Strait.

In recent years, sea ice has receded north into Arctic Ocean water. Depths there exceed 2 miles and walrus cannot dive to the bottom.

Walrus in large numbers were first spotted on the U.S. side of the Chukchi Sea in 2007. They returned in 2009. In 2011, scientists estimated 30,000 walruses along 1 kilometer of beach near Point Lay.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are scientists seeing this phenomenon now, instead of a couple months ago?

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COMMENTS (112)
  • evanb-Orv
    10/07/2014 - 03:56 p.m.

    Scientists are now seeing this phenomenon because they came back in 2009 and there are 30,000 walruses that alot to see for the aquatic animals

  • barrett7800
    10/07/2014 - 05:33 p.m.

    I think that this is just more proof of climate change. The topic of global warming has been overlooked multiple times in the past years, but apparently the walruses have gotten the message before us. Climate change is real, and having a wall of walruses shows that we need to rethink what's important.

  • Zachary1234321
    10/07/2014 - 05:39 p.m.

    Scientists are seeing this because their could of bin a lot of sharks causing the walruses to group together and go to land. I liked article because I like seeing things that are out of the ordinary

  • Zachary1234321
    10/07/2014 - 05:39 p.m.

    Scientists are seeing this because their could of bin a lot of sharks causing the walruses to group together and go to land. I liked article because I like seeing things that are out of the ordinary

  • Camden676
    10/07/2014 - 05:43 p.m.

    Wow! Forty-five thousand walrus on a beach! Thats insane! I really liked this article, "Wall of Walrus" because there are so many walrus on a small beach. I also like how it doesn't just show the "Wall of Walrus" but a little information after that tells a little about the species. I think the walrus are coming every four years, like they are on a cycle. They are probably going to come back in the next three years.

  • Camden676
    10/07/2014 - 05:43 p.m.

    Wow! Forty-five thousand walrus on a beach! Thats insane! I really liked this article, "Wall of Walrus" because there are so many walrus on a small beach. I also like how it doesn't just show the "Wall of Walrus" but a little information after that tells a little about the species. I think the walrus are coming every four years, like they are on a cycle. They are probably going to come back in the next three years.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    10/07/2014 - 08:11 p.m.

    I that this is really scary that walrus can come on the shore on Alaska and just stay there. I think that these animals are running away from something and they are afraid tat it will get them. I really wish that these animals are safe because 35,000 walrus are a lot of animals and these animals are big too. They can hurt other animals on the shore and the article says that some were dead. I just think that these animals shouldn't be on a land where people are. If some people were going to the shore of Alaska, then they might be trampled by these big creatures! I just think that is just scary. I wonder if zoos are going to capture a walrus and out them in the ice tank and just tel people that this walrus was saved by a famous man who saw him dying. I just think that people should just leave the animal alone, then everybody will be okay. Everything dies, and that is just the part of the life cycle. Someday, a rare snake will die and people will just try to find more. I just think that these walrus should be left alone so that they can live their life just has God made it.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    10/07/2014 - 09:58 p.m.

    I think this is very concerning because this means that global warming is affecting the ice caps in the Arctic. I think the people should use limit their carbon footprint because global warming is affecting the ice caps in which animals like polar bears and walrus have to travel further to settle on. Since the ice caps are melting, the sea levels rise even higher than in the past. Also, this makes it harder for animals to find food because the rising sea levels can make prey go deeper than ever.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: Why are scientists seeing this phenomenon now, instead of a couple of months ago?
    Answer: Scientists are seeing this phenomenon now because the summer sea ice is melting in which walrus need settle on.

  • altringermario
    10/07/2014 - 10:41 p.m.

    Who, the people that were involved are the people who took the picture.


    What, the thing that happend is that 35,000 Walruses made a gigantic wall.


    Were, this article took place at alasca.


    When, this happend October,7,2014.


    Why, this happend because 35,000 Walruses made a gigantic wall.

  • JacobmH-2
    10/07/2014 - 11:05 p.m.

    To summarize this article, a MASSIVE amount of Walrus have appeared on the shore about 5 miles north of Point Lay in Alaska. Point Lay is a small Eskimo village about 700 miles northwest of the small town Anchorage, Alaska. Walrus breed and feed in a area called the Bering Sea. Unlike seals, walrus need to rest in order to travel long distances. Their usual resting spots is sea ice. However, due to global warming, sea ice is receding north. Without a spot to rest, walrus are taking over beaches by the thousands. Why don't the walrus just do north with the ice? They can't. The ice is going into arctic waters which is 2 miles deep. Walrus feed off of snails clams and worms on the bottom of the sea. And the cannot dive that deep. In my opinion this is tragic. Because of global warming, entire species have been stranded and forced to either adapt quickly or die. This has to be stopped. However i doubt that this will be enough to change the tides. To conclude this article, a very tragic discovery has been made right of the coast of Alaska. Thousands of walrus have been forced from their natural habitat to the shores of warmer regions.

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