Alaska's Seal Hunt Lasted Only a Few Days Because It's So Hot
The hunt for bearded seal was abnormally short because of melted ice. Native Alaskans worry about losing their traditional foods and culture.
KOTZEBUE, AlaskaIn this Far North village, no animal provides more protein to fill freezers than the bearded seal. A single seal can supply hundreds of pounds of meat, enough to feed a large, extended family for a winter.
For generations, every late June and early July, native hunters like Ross Schaeffer and his niece Karmen Schaeffer Monigold have motored through the broken sea ice of Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska, looking for seals basking on frosty rafts. But this year, temperatures were close to 70 degrees, there was no ice in sight, and the seals had already migrated north.
This seal-hunting season was the shortest in memory, lasting less than a week, compared with the usual three weeks.
Schaeffer and Monigold did manage to