The Chukchi Sea is home to more than polar bears, while they have been receiving the bulk of the attention most recently in this region. Walruses have been congregating in large numbers on islands and on the shores of the Chukchi Sea in Russia, and thus overcrowding them. The lack of summer sea ice has given them no place to haul out and rest.
The problem is that when frightened, the walruses stampede and many get squashed to death. The recent mortality was said to be 3,000 to 4,000 mostly young.
If ice continues to decline in summers, as expected, walruses will be putting much greater pressure on near land underwater feeding areas. Walruses are already dying from global warming; the loss of Arctic sea ice which walruses use to rest, led to overcrowding on land.
Yet another reason to petition Dirk Kempthorne to halt the oil and gas lease sale set to occur on February 6.