Easily recognized by its two long, white tusks, the walrus is one of the largest pinnipeds in the world, with adult males weighing up to 3,700 pounds. Mother walruses often leave their pups on floating sea ice to rest while they dive to forage for food. Despite their hulking size and shape, these animals are expert swimmers, spending days at sea feeding before using their long tusks to pull themselves onto sea ice, where they join hundreds of other walruses to rest.
Climate Change Impacts
The retreat of sea ice from climate change spells big trouble for walrus. As neither long-distance swimmers or deep-sea divers, walrus greatly rely on sea ice for rest when they forage in shallow waters. As sea ice recedes, walruses are being forced to choose between rest and food. The retreat of the polar ice caps is also luring in industries like oil and gas drilling, whose practices further stress the species.