Feds: Lack of sea ice changes walrus behavior
by Dan Joling, Associated Press
November 14, 2012 04:00 PM | 529 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal scientists say a lack of summer sea ice is changing the behavior of Pa-cific walruses, but they don’t know what the effect will be.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and Russia tagged 251 walruses in the Chukchi (CHUCK’-chee) Sea off Alaska’s northern coast and tracked their movements from 2008-2011. The results were released at a news conference Wednesday in Anchorage.

A release issued ahead of the news conference says the study shows walruses are arriving earlier than normal at northern feeding grounds in the summer. When sea ice melted completely, the walruses hauled out on land and for-aged for food closer to shore.

Scientists say they don’t yet understand the impact of the new behavior, but noted possible higher mortality rates for younger walruses from being trampled.

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