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Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus)

  • Context (WION): The first case of a walrus dying from bird flu was recorded on an Arctic island.

Walrus - PMF IAS

  • Walruses are the largest pinnipeds (includes the seals and sea lions) marine mammals found in the Arctic and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Habitat: Walruses inhabit areas in the Arctic that are largely made up of ice. Walruses prefer areas with shallow water so they can easily access food.
  • Range: There are two subspecies of Walrus: Atlantic and Pacific Walrus. The Atlantic walrus lives in the seasonally ice-covered northern waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia. In contrast, the Pacific walrus occupies from the Bering to the Chukchi Seas, as well as the Laptev Sea.
  • The walrus has a tusk on each side of its mouth, which it uses to haul itself out of the water and onto the sea ice, fight with other walruses, and defend against predators.
  • Walruses have thick skin that ranges from light grey to yellowish brown. A thick layer of fat below the skin, called blubber, keeps the walrus warm.
  • Diet: They feed mainly on invertebrates such as clams and snails found on the bottom of the relatively shallow seas.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable.
  • Threats: Hunting for oil, ivory and hides, climate change.
  • Significance: It is a keystone species in Arctic marine ecosystems.

Hopen Island

  • The island of Hopen lies in the northern Barents Sea and is part of the archipelago of Svalbard.
  • Most of the island, with its steep cliffs, ever-moving solifluction soil & frost-shattered debris, is barren.

Hopen Island - PMF IAS

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