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USGS report on history of walrus haulouts leaves out correlation with population size | polarbearscience

August 3, 2016

Dr Susan Crockford exposes the latest nonsense  from the USGS about how global warming is supposedly putting walruses at risk:


researchers from the US Geological Survey have a new report on the history of walrus haulouts in the Chukchi and Bering Seas – yet their media efforts (via press release and interviews) fail to mention the relationship between fluctuating size of walrus haulouts and fluctuating walrus population size that is evident in that history. In fact, overall population size is not mentioned at all.
Two articles came out over the weekend that announced the results of this new joint US-Russian initiative [PBS, Walrus beaching in Alaska might not be as harmful as it looks. Here’s why – 31 July 2016 and ADN, Alaska and Russia join forces to create 160-year database of walrus haulouts – 31 July 2016]
But neither articles nor the new USGS paper they are touting (Fischback et al. 2016) mention the huge summer/fall haulouts of females, calves, and juveniles that were documented in the 1970s that coincided with the huge population size at that time, which crashed in the 1980s.
Only now has the population grown (to at least 200,000) to the point that huge haulouts are again being reported – conservation has done it’s job. But when walrus numbers get too high the animals out-strip their food source and numbers plummet, as they did in the 1980s (Fay et al. 1989; Garlich-Miller et al. 2011). See my fully referenced summary paper, Crockford 2014 (On The Beach: Walrus Haulouts are Nothing New).
Here’s the concern: When (not if) a population crash happens again, will it be blamed on global warming rather than natural causes? According to the PBS article:
“The database is supposed to help federal officials with conservation, especially as more ships start sailing through the newly open waters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is determining whether walrus should be listed as a threatened species.

The iconic polar bear has fallen out of favour lately, as tales of its demise have proved rather premature with thousands of the little blighters swaggering around, eating people and being a proverbial pain in the ass!
So, step up the walrus, and all of those photos of them crowding beaches, rather like Benidorm.

This is supposedly because all the ice has melted, forcing the ugly buggers onto little bits of rock.
Unfortunately for the fraudsters, experts like Susan Crockford inconveniently point out that we had similar beach outs the last time walrus populations were thriving in the 1970s.
 Now, of course, it may be pure coincidence that walrus beach outs have returned to 1970 levels, just as population levels have as well. After all, it is only correlation.

Yet the climate fraudsters would like us to believe that the correlation between reduced Arctic ice and beaching out is true cause and effect.

Unfortunately they are unable to explain why similar beach outs took place in the 1970s, when Arctic ice was expanding!

  1. August 3, 2016 10:02 pm

    Are these people really that unaware of historical matters? . Or is their ignorance wilful?

  2. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 4, 2016 7:26 am

    They are disguised “Syrian refugees” who thought they were being taken to the UK. They are probably wanting their money back.

  3. rapscallion permalink
    August 4, 2016 7:30 am

    “The database is supposed to help federal officials with conservation, especially as more ships start sailing through the newly open waters”

    Really? And the evidence for this is where?

    Maybe the mean this lot – – who are frankly going nowhere – literally.

  4. dennisambler permalink
    August 4, 2016 8:46 am

    The Time Has Come The Walrus Said,To Speak With Truth and Honesty about Wildlife and Climate.

    This is another scare that gets re-cycled every so often. This was in 2010:

    “Scientists fear declining Arctic sea ice may have caused an unprecedented mass migration to dry land.

    The flight of the walrus has reinforced warnings from scientists that the lumbering animal may be headed for extinction because of climate change.”

    In 2008, the Independent was in full flow:

    “Walruses: The friendly, fun-loving, musically talented creatures are under threat from climate change.”

    In a story reminiscent of the “drowning polar bears” reported in 2005, WWF quoted a story from 2006, talking of lost and crying walrus pups with an image of a lone pup in the water.
    “We were on a station for 24 hours, and the calves would be swimming around us crying. We couldn’t rescue them,’ said Carin Ashjian, a biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a member of the research team….”

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service has photos of walrus swimming in open water with calves on their backs, maybe they didn’t need rescuing.

    In 2010, the litigious Centre for Biological Diversity, also got in on the Act:

    “Pacific Walrus Faces Dire Future: Federal Report Predicts Extinction Risk Due to Global Warming.”

    Walrus Evolution: They have been around for some time.

    “The Atlantic and Pacific varieties separated relatively recently, estimated at 500,000 and 785,000 years ago.”

    So what was the Arctic climate like 500,000 years ago? A paper by Willerslev E. et al, “Ancient Biomolecules from Deep Ice Cores Reveal a Forested Southern Greenland”; published in Science, 6 July 2007, showed that Greenland was covered in a dense forest teeming with flora and fauna less than a million years ago.

    Robert McGhee, Head of the Scientific Section, Archaeological Survey of Canada, based at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa says that Walrus have lived in warmer times than today, in the relatively recent past:

    “By about 7000 years ago…….The gulfs and channels between the arctic islands had long been at least seasonally ice-free, and provided a home to populations of seals, walrus, and whales.”

    There is considerable evidence that for the next 3500 years the Arctic climate was noticeably warmer than today, the tree-line was north of its present position, sea ice was less extensive, and animal populations were large and well established.”

    Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary
    “Best known among the Walrus 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).”

    Check out the Live Cam:

    Lots of lovely walrus chilling out on the beach.

    Also lots of pictures of walrus haul outs below: It’s what they do.

    It’ll be time for penguins to become extinct again soon, it’s their turn.

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 4, 2016 9:02 am

      Before anyone tells me, I know that Penguins are in Antarctica, but the Center for Biological Diversity campaigned for 12 species to be added to the Endangered Species List in 2006.

      “These penguin species will march right into extinction unless greenhouse gas pollution is controlled,” said the center’s Kassie Siegel. “It is not too late to save them, but we must seize the available solutions to global warming immediately.”

  5. 4TimesAYear permalink
    August 4, 2016 8:24 pm

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

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