Ten Thousand Walruses Gather on Island As Sea Ice Shrinks
The marine mammals, which usually spend their time resting on sea ice, are increasingly forced to haul out on land.
The giant marine mammal is known to "haul out"—literally haul its body onto ice or land to rest or warm up—on various places along the Arctic coast.
But with the Arctic warming up and melting much of its floating ice, there are limited areas for the walruses to gather. This forces them to cluster on land in huge aggregations rarely before seen. (See more walrus pictures.)
In 2011, 30,000 walruses hauled out along a stretch of beach less than a mile long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which took aerial pictures of the most recent walrus gathering.
Scientists first noted that such large terrestrial haulouts along Alaska's coast in 2007 and reports have increased in the past five