USGS report on history of walrus haulouts leaves out correlation with population size | polarbearscience
Dr Susan Crockford exposes the latest nonsense from the USGS about how global warming is supposedly putting walruses at risk:
Walrus 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!