10,000 walruses, ready for their close-up

September 17, 2010

BELARUS/Zoom! Pan! Swish!  Take a look at a new movie of walruses crowding an Alaska beach — as you’ve never seen them before! Shot from 4,000 feet up in the air, the vast herd of walruses looks like a pile of brown gravel from a distance. (A far different view than the extreme close-up in the still photo at left, which was taken at a zoo in Belarus.)

As the camera in Alaska zooms in, you can see there are thousands of walruses scrambling ashore as the ice floes they normally use as hunting platforms melt away. The video was shot this month at Point Lay, Alaska, and distributed this week by the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s impossible to say how many are on this beach in this movie, but an Arctic scientist at World Wildlife Fund estimates between 10,000 and 20,000 of the tusked marine mammals have hauled themselves onto land in Alaska this year as summer Arctic sea ice shrank to its third-smallest recorded size.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Vladimir Nikolsky (Zoo employee plays with a walrus during celebrations marking the zoo’s 23th birthday in Minsk, Belarus, August 11, 2007)

Video credit: U.S. Geological Survey

One comment

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I can’t believe that Reuters can only say Zoom! Pan! Swish! I mean, Hello, what about the real problem? The shrinking ice? The dead walruses? The females attempting to get their cubs to safety only to be trampled by the males, due to lack of space. I am sure the WWF scientist must have had more to say. It would be great if Reuters took this opportunity to let folks know of the terrible predicament the Arctic walrus is experiencing.

Posted by alfm | Report as abusive