35,000 Walruses Invade Alaskan Beach

A shortage of sea ice is forcing them ashore.

Sometimes, the headline really does say it all: A herd of approximately 35,000 walruses has taken over a beach near the village of Point Lay in northwestern Alaska.

The massive congregation was spotted during the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey, the Associated Press reports.


image: NOAA

Pacific walruses spend winters in the Bering Sea before migrating northward in the summer, following the edge of the receding pack ice to the Chukchi Sea. Walruses need solid platforms to rest upon and use their tusks to "haul out" onto the floes. In years when ice is in short supply, the large mammals retreat to land instead. This year's summer Arctic ice cover was the sixth-lowest on record.

Previous walrus beachings have been observed in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Read more: Associated Press