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Walruses Do What Walruses Do.

October 3, 2014
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By Paul Homewood

 

image

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/01/us/alaska-massive-walrus-gathering/index.html

 

 

 

 

The story of how thousands of walruses (or is walri?!?) have hauled out in large numbers on an Alaskan beach has made plenty of headlines this week. Supposedly, we are told, they have done so because all the ice, which they like to laze about on, has melted.

 

Bishop Hill has covered the story in great detail, and concludes that it is just the usual load of eco-drivel.

 

I thought it just worth, though, looking at where Point Lay, where the walruses have congregated, is in relation to the ice.

 

Point Lay is here. on the North West coast of Alaska.

 

https://uk.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=Az_6xdhZHC9Ui3EAG7pNBQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTIzaWxwZmptBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAMxYzBiODJmY2RjMTY1NzY5ODI1NGU1NzViMWVlZjUzMQRncG9zAzE4BGl0A2Jpbmc-?back=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.images.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3F_adv_prop%3Dimage%26va%3Dpoint%2Blay%2Balaska%26fr%3Dytff1-tyc-sc%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D18&w=2848&h=1768&imgurl=www.tuxboard.com%2Fphotos%2F2014%2F10%2FPoint-Lay-Alaska.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tuxboard.com%2F35-000-morses-alaska%2F&size=873.3KB&name=%3Cb%3EPoint-Lay-Alaska%3C%2Fb%3E.jpg&p=point+lay+alaska&oid=1c0b82fcdc1657698254e575b1eef531&fr2=&fr=ytff1-tyc-sc&tt=%3Cb%3EPoint-Lay-Alaska%3C%2Fb%3E.jpg&b=0&ni=128&no=18&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=11d4v6kin&sigb=13mtnkgfe&sigi=11ktjaued&sigt=10r4g9i87&sign=10r4g9i87&.crumb=Zuqa9wTXLNT&fr=ytff1-tyc-sc

 

 

And where is the ice normally at this time of year?

 

N_daily_extent

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/index.html

 

A long, long way away, even taking the 1981-2010 median.

It is clear that, if the walruses were heading from where the ice traditionally was, they would have found land much nearer on the North East coast. 

 

A number of questions are raised:-

 

1) Are these sort of haul outs unusual? The answer seems to be no.

2) Is the number of animals doing this unusually high? I can’t see we have any way of knowing, unless we have been closely monitoring all of these situations for may decades, which we clearly have not.

3) Even if this is an unusual occurrence, is there any reason to assume it has anything to do with “global warming”? Have other factors, such as ocean currents, weather, and migration of food supply been taken into account, and discounted?

4) Are there more walruses around these days, for whatever reason? If so, these sort of “pile ups” would be perfectly expectable.

 

Unfortunately, by the standards of most climate related science these days, this sort of junk science seems to be the norm.

 

 

One last thought. It is perfectly common for walruses, and similar species to congregate like this, whether for safety or conservation of heat and protection from the weather. It is also clear that there is ample room on the beach for them to spread out, if they wanted to. Instead they are merely copying the habits they would employ on the ice.

The implication of the film is this behaviour is unusual, and as a result many are dying due to trampling.

This account makes clear that, as far back as 1986, this sort of thing was happening on Cape Pierce, which was further south, on the South Western coast of Alaska.

 

The Walrus haulout at Cape Pierce

 

One of the weirdest job duties I ever had was removing tusks from dead Walrus. I didn’t have to do this too often—only seven times. I was working as a volunteer on Togiak National Wildlife Refuge at Cape Pierce doing marine mammal, nesting sea bird, and migrating waterfowl surveys back in 1986.

I don’t have photos from my time with the Walrus because my camera broke, but here’s a few I found taken at Cape Pierce from subsequent years.

Cape Pierce is a remote, windswept peninsula jutting into the Bering Sea in the lonely Southwestern corner of Alaska.

In the two and half months I worked there we had visitors twice.

It’s a 90 minute bush plane flight from the nearest settlement. Yeah, it was out there. And the wind blew almost all the time. Twenty miles per hour was normal. The highest wind speed I recorded was 65 mph.

The Walrus would haul out in these sand dunes—anywhere from six to twelve thousand of them.

Over the course of several days the walrus would leave to hunt for food on the ocean bottom and then come back and rest.

http://paulgreci.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/beach-party-walrus-style/

 

 

Unfortunately, facts such as these no longer matter to the scamsters.

9 Comments
  1. October 3, 2014 11:04 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog.

  2. October 3, 2014 11:19 pm

    The Walrus on Cape Pierce are male walrus. Traditionally, a herd of them stays in the southern Bering Sea in the summer while the females and young stay with the ice pack as it moves northward. The Walrus haulout at Cape Pierce, as far as I know, is unrelated to the perils that the females and young are facing as the ice recedes farther than the continental shelf where they have historically foraged for food.

    My post in no way is meant to contradict the evidence that the female and young walrus are under tremendous stress from the lack of summer ice to use for haul out areas.

    My apologies that my blog post you have quoted from above failed to mention the differences in the male and female seasonal migration patterns of the Pacific Walrus. I will edit the post on my blog to reflect this significant omission.

  3. October 3, 2014 11:28 pm

    My post has been edited to include the following sentence at the end of the first paragraph:

    A portion of male walrus population remain in the southern Bering Sea in the summer while the females and young stay with the ice pack as it recedes north.

    Again, my apologies for the confusion my post may have caused.

  4. October 3, 2014 11:54 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Yes, walruses will.

  5. October 3, 2014 11:55 pm

    Walrus haulouts were described in the the 1604 expedition to the Kola Peninsula of the ship “Speed” of Muscovy Company, commanded by Stephen Bennet. See: http://www.marinemammalscience.org/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D512%26Itemid%3D320

  6. October 4, 2014 2:53 am

    What Happens When A Walrus Falls Asleep On A Surfacing Submarine?

    • Brian H permalink
      October 4, 2014 5:47 am

      It gets aw wet when the sub subs again?

  7. Andy DC permalink
    October 4, 2014 12:57 pm

    Great job clarifying the situation, given the misinformation being spread in the media.

  8. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 4, 2014 8:21 pm

    One thing that is in evidence. Unless these 35,000 walruses have some great misfortune, the species is in no danger. Further, their great distance from the ice flows means they are also distant from the polar bears.

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