Aerial photograph of thousands of Pacific walrus coming ashore near Point Lay, on the north-west Arctic coast of Alaska, on 23 August 2015. Photo: Gary Braasch / Corbis

[This again. Looks like it will be an annual event, as the Arctic sea ice dwindles inexorably. – Des]

By Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
27 August 2015 16.51 EDT

(The Guardian) – The extreme loss of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is forcing thousands of walruses to crowd ashore on a remote barrier island off Alaska, and threatening their survival.

Barack Obama will be the first US president to visit the Alaskan Arctic on 31 August on a three-day tour to draw attention to the drastic consequences of climate change for the Arctic, such as warming winters and the rapid retreat of sea ice.

The first reported sighting of animals forced to come ashore in the Chukchi Sea was by a photographer on 23 August, and confirmed by villagers in the remote hamlet of Point Lay late on Thursday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service said.

Such landings, forced by the absence of sea ice on which to rest and feed, put the animals at risk of stampede in the limited space of the barrier island.

The animals are easily spooked by aircraft or onlookers, government scientists warned. Trampling deaths are one of the biggest natural risks. [more]

Extreme Arctic sea ice melt forces thousands of walruses ashore in Alaska



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