Melting Arctic ice affecting walrus calves

Apr 13, 2006

Scientists have reported an unprecedented number of unaccompanied and possibly abandoned walrus calves in the Arctic Ocean.

The experts believe global warming is causing sea ice to melt, forcing mothers to abandon their pups as the mothers follow the rapidly retreating ice edge northward.

Unable to forage for themselves, such calves are likely to drown or starve, the scientists said.

Lone walrus calves far from shore have not been described before, researchers report in the April issue of Aquatic Mammals. The sightings suggest increased polar warming may lead to decreases in the walrus population.

"If walruses and other ice-associated marine mammals cannot adapt to caring for their young in shallow waters without sea-ice available as a resting platform between dives to the sea floor, a significant population decline of this species could occur," the research team wrote. The lead author of the study was Lee Cooper, a biogeochemist at the University of Tennessee.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Lucky star escapes black hole with minor damage

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warming Arctic strands walrus calves

Apr 16, 2006

Lone walrus calves facing starvation after separation from their mothers appear to be more common in the Arctic, scientists say.

Recommended for you

Beastly sunspot amazes, heightens eclipse excitement

1 hour ago

That's one big, black blemish on the Sun today! Rarely have we been witness to such an enormous sunspot. Lifting the #14 welder's glass to my eyes this morning I about jumped back and bumped into the garage.

The formation and development of desert dunes on Titan

2 hours ago

Combining climate models and observations of the surface of Titan from the Cassini probe, a team from the AIM Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / CEA / Paris Diderot University) , in collaboration with researchers ...

User comments : 0