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.

In a report in the journal Aquatic Mammals, the scientists say they believe the calves were victims of thinning sea ice because of rising temperatures in the Arctic. One Coast Guard vessel observed nine lone calves during a two-month cruise north of Alaska in 2004.

Carin Ashjian, a biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said water flowing from the Bering Sea to the shallower continental shelf of the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska was 6 degrees F warmer than it had been in 2002. She believes the result was thinner sea ice close to shore, with young walrus stranded or dumped into the water when pieces broke off.

"We were on a station for 24 hours, and the calves would be swimming around us crying," Ashjian told The Washington Post "We couldn't rescue them."

Young walrus spend the first two years of life with their mothers, remaining on an ice shelf while the adults dive for crabs and clams.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

1 hour ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

7 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

Scientists say that the Ebola (ee-BOH'-lah) virus that has killed scores of people this year in Guinea (GIH'-nee) is a new strain. That means it did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations.