Arctic nature and wildlife

Articles in ‘Arctic nature and wildlife’

Mass death of walruses

September 19th, 2009
Walruses por flickkerphotos.

As many as two hundred dead walruses have been spotted on the shore of Chukchi Sea on Alaska’s northwest coast. Wildlife researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey report the dead walruses appeared to be mostly new calves or yearlings. They may have been crushed in a panic stampede triggered by a polar bear or a helicopter. Large numbers of walruses are gathering on Alaska’s northwest coast, a sign their Arctic sea ice environment has been altered by climate change, the second time in three years that this has happened. They cannot swim indefinitely and until recently used sea ice as a platform for diving in the Bering and Chukchi seas for clams and other food on the ocean floor. Now, sea ice has receded far beyond the outer continental shelf, forcing walruses to choose between riding the ice over waters too deep to reach clams or onto shore. More here

Meanwhile, Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached the third lowest level on record last year, according to the latest NASA statistics. Here

Photo by Thundafunda

Ecological changes in the Arctic

September 11th, 2009 A review article in this week’s Science on the impact of climate change on the Arctic notes that ecosystems are changing fast, and that could portend more shifts in other parts of the world. The authors list numerous examples. Ringed seal pups in the Canadian Arctic have lost birth lairs to early spring melts, while warmer winters have allowed reindeer in Norway to thrive. Arctic fox populations are dropping as red foxes move north. And caribou calving has fallen out of sync with peak plant growth in Greenland, possibly explaining why calf survival has declined. More here

Polar bears attacking submarine

September 9th, 2009

Three Polar bears approach the starboard bow of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Honolulu (SSN 718) while surfaced 280 miles from the North Pole.

This is a remarkable image. Three Polar bears are approaching the the submarine USS Honolulu 280 miles from the North Pole. The bears investigated the boat for almost 2 hours before leaving. More here

How to save the polar bear

July 20th, 2009 New York Times editorial. “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has upheld a Bush administration finding that the Endangered Species Act is not a suitable tool for restricting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatening the polar bear and its habitat. We agree, with this codicil: There are steps Mr. Salazar can and must take under the act — steps that the Bush White House would not — to protect the bear..”