This past week the bodies of over 25 walrus were found washed up on the Alaskan coast in a remote region by a helicopter flying by. The bodies were found with heads and tusks missing and over 12 of the walrus were actually pups. This weekend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have revealed they’ve launched an investigation into the deaths of the walrus so no information thus far is conclusive.
While many have weighed in that this could be a horrific case of illegal poaching of walrus, there is no concrete evidence as of yet to verify such claims. Currently, the laws in place state that only Alaskan natives can hunt walrus for food and to make clothing and items. It’s been noted that the missing heads and tusks don’t necessarily mean poaching activity according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s possible they all died at sea. Though if that is the case, many are wondering what could have taken out an entire group like this.
The carcasses were photographed by a person at the radar station at Cape Lisburne, 230 miles northeast of the Bering Strait. The team investigating reached the beach this week and began to investigate the carcasses before wildlife began to pick them apart. According to the service, time is of the essence if they are to get to the bottom of what could have happened.
Climate change in the Alaskan area has been cause for concern for quite some time with many believing the warmer waters are drawing predators into the walrus grounds and disrupting their life cycle. Only time will tell what happened to these creatures and whether man or nature was the cause of their deaths.