, The coincidental similarity between morse and the Latin word morsus ("a bite") supposedly contributed to the walrus's reputation as a "terrible monster". It is hard to get a good number of them though due to the environment where they live. , Walruses live to about 20–30 years old in the wild. Walruses lounge on sea ice between Iglulik and Hall Beach in October 2014. photo courtesy of Jay Williams. Today the only legal hunting of the walrus is from Native Americans. As with otariids, it can turn its rear flippers forward and move on all fours; however, its swimming technique is more like that of true seals, relying less on flippers and more on sinuous whole body movements. The Maritime population remains extirpated, despite the occasional sighting. Old males, in particular, become nearly pink. Both the killer whale and the polar bear are also most likely to prey on walrus calves.  The bears also isolate walruses when they overwinter and are unable to escape a charging bear due to inaccessible diving holes in the ice. The Atlantic Walrus is listed on Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which requires a CITES export permit to be issued before Walrus products can be exported from Canada. Their population has rebounded somewhat since then, though the populations of Atlantic and Laptev walruses remain fragmented and at low levels compared with the time before human interference. That is a remarkable feat and goes to show that they are highly adaptable animals. The Walrus is a large marine mammal that is found inhabiting the freezing cold and icy waters of the Arctic Circle. Walruses belong to the family Odobenidae - a group of marine carnivores that was composed of many species in the late Miocene and early Pliocene periods. While there has been some debate as to whether all three lineages are monophyletic, i.e. For example, in a Chukchi version of the widespread myth of the Raven, in which Raven recovers the sun and the moon from an evil spirit by seducing his daughter, the angry father throws the daughter from a high cliff and, as she drops into the water, she turns into a walrus – possibly the original walrus.  From there, it presumably recolonized the North Pacific Ocean during high glaciation periods in the Pleistocene via the Central American Seaway. The polar bear often hunts the walrus by rushing at beached aggregations and consuming the individuals crushed or wounded in the sudden exodus, typically younger or infirm animals. Perhaps its best-known appearance is in Lewis Carroll's whimsical poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" that appears in his 1871 book Through the Looking-Glass. The walrus is the only living species in the family Odobenidae and genus Odobenus. Early aerial censuses of Pacific walrus conducted at five-year intervals between 1975 and 1985 estimated populations of above 220,000 in each of the three surveys.  Male Atlantic walrus weigh an average of 900 kg (2,000 lb). Shop The Atlantic Walrus is endangered Coffee Mug created by WokeUpMugs. Olaus Magnus, who depicted the walrus in the Carta Marina in 1539, first referred to the walrus as the ros marus, probably a Latinization of morž, and this was adopted by Linnaeus in his binomial nomenclature.  Tusks were once thought to be used to dig out prey from the seabed, but analyses of abrasion patterns on the tusks indicate they are dragged through the sediment while the upper edge of the snout is used for digging. This blubber keeps them warm and the fat provides energy to the walrus.  The walrus does not, however, comprise a significant component of either of these predators' diets. The Atlantic walrus was hunted to near extinction for its ivory, meat and blubber from the 17th to the 19th century.  Tusks are slightly longer and thicker among males, which use them for fighting, dominance and display; the strongest males with the largest tusks typically dominate social groups. for the home or office, makes a great … In the 18th and 19th centuries, the walrus was heavily exploited by American and European sealers and whalers, leading to the near-extirpation of the Atlantic subspecies. As a secondary sexual characteristic, males also acquire significant nodules, called "bosses", particularly around the neck and shoulders.  This myth is possibly related to the Chukchi myth of the old walrus-headed woman who rules the bottom of the sea, who is in turn linked to the Inuit goddess Sedna. The IUCN’s designation reflects the difficulty in assessing population numbers, a challenge also recognized by COSEWIC and other organizations. , Currently, two of the three walrus subspecies are listed as "least-concern" by the IUCN, while the third is "data deficient". The Pacific walrus is the largest of the three subspecies, with the male walrus weighing more than 4,000 pounds on average. The blubber layer beneath is up to 15 cm (6 in) thick. As a result their numbers began to steadily increase. These are elongated canines, which are present in both male and female walruses and can reach a length of 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and weigh up to 5.4 kg (12 lb).  For example, the Old Norse word hrossvalr means "horse-whale" and is thought to have been passed in an inverted form to both Dutch and the dialects of northern Germany as walros and Walross. An occasional male of the Pacific subspecies far exceeds normal dimensions. "Ecology and Biology of the Pacific Walrus, "The sensitivity of the vibrissae of a Pacific Walrus (, "Carnivorous walrus and some arctic zoonoses", "Izembek National Wildlife Report Sept 2015", "Stock Assessment Report: Pacific Walrus – Alaska Stock", "Status of Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic: The Atlantic Walrus", "Atlantic Walrus: Northwest Atlantic Population", "Disappearance of Icelandic Walruses Coincided with Norse Settlement", 10.1890/0012-9615(2001)071[0137:CDPOPA]2.0.CO;2, "Feeding behaviour of free-ranging walruses with notes on apparent dextrality of flipper use", "Feeding and Trophic Relationships of Phocid Seals and walruses in the Eastern Bering Sea", "Narwhals, Narwhal Pictures, Narwhal Facts", "Interactions between Polar Bears and Overwintering Walruses in the Central Canadian High Arctic", "North American Bear Center – Polar Bear Facts", "A review of Killer Whale interactions with other marine mammals: Predation to co-existence", "Hunting and Use of Walrus by Alaska Natives", "Use and preference for Traditional Foods among Belcher Island Inuit". Limits on commercial hunting allowed the population to increase to a peak in the 1970s-1980s, but subsequently, walrus numbers have again declined. This species is subdivided into two subspecies: the Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), which lives in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific walrus (O. r. divergens), which lives in the Pacific Ocean. The Norwegian manuscript Konungsskuggsja, thought to date from around AD 1240, refers to the walrus as "rosmhvalr" in Iceland and "rostungr" in Greenland (walruses were by now extinct in Iceland and Norway, while the word evolved in Greenland).  However, it prefers benthic bivalve mollusks, especially clams, for which it forages by grazing along the sea bottom, searching and identifying prey with its sensitive vibrissae and clearing the murky bottoms with jets of water and active flipper movements. , The walrus has an air sac under its throat which acts like a flotation bubble and allows it to bob vertically in the water and sleep. The extent and thickness of the pack ice has reached unusually low levels in several recent years. The two subspecies of walrus are divided geographically. , Commercial harvesting reduced the population of the Pacific walrus to between 50,000 and 100,000 in the 1950s-1960s.  These dates coincide with the hypothesis derived from fossils that the walrus evolved from a tropical or subtropical ancestor that became isolated in the Atlantic Ocean and gradually adapted to colder conditions in the Arctic. Because skin blood vessels constrict in cold water, the walrus can appear almost white when swimming. The walrus was once threatened by commercial hunting, but today the biggest danger it faces is climate change. The walruses in the Canadian Arctic are at risk of extinction. , Walrus ivory masks made by Yupik in Alaska, John Tenniel's illustration for Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", Dutch explorers fight a walrus on the coast of Novaya Zemlya, 1596. size 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" - walrus photos from and back. Of course a great deal of their success has to do with the efforts of humans on their behalf.  Global trade in walrus ivory is restricted according to a CITES Appendix 3 listing. The mothers nurse for over a year before weaning, but the young can spend up to five years with the mothers. History The Walrus has been around for 15 million years! There are three subspecies of walrus: the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Laptev walrus. 15% OFF SITEWIDE Use Code: CARDSFOR2021 | FREE SHIPPING WITH ZAZZLE BLACK - learn more.  Several hundred are removed annually around Greenland. It was nature’s way of making sure that survival of the fittest prevailed. [clarification needed] According to various legends, the tusks are formed either by the trails of mucus from the weeping girl or her long braids. The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The extraocular muscles of the walrus are well-developed. When on land, walruses like to cuddle together to stay warm, and this is why they are known for being friendly and agreeable, at least with other walruses. The principal threat to existing Atlantic walrus populations is hunting for Aboriginal subsistence.  The meat, often preserved, is an important winter nutrition source; the flippers are fermented and stored as a delicacy until spring; tusks and bone were historically used for tools, as well as material for handicrafts; the oil was rendered for warmth and light; the tough hide made rope and house and boat coverings; and the intestines and gut linings made waterproof parkas.  Analysis of trends in ice cover published in 2012 indicate that Pacific walrus populations are likely to continue to decline for the foreseeable future, and shift further north, but that careful conservation management might be able to limit these effects. In February 2008, we petitioned to protect the walrus under the Endangered Species Act, making it the third Arctic species we had sought to protect, following the polar bear and ribbon seal. Without this it is unknown how many different plants and organisms would also be lost to the world forever. When people are hunting them for tusks or for food they often do on land. Since it feeds off of food from the bottom of it, the movements allow a variety of nutrients from the floor of the water to be mixed up. Walrus Threatened One of the amazing things about the walrus is that it has been threatened by endangerment two times and made a come back. It disturbs (bioturbates) the sea floor, releasing nutrients into the water column, encouraging mixing and movement of many organisms and increasing the patchiness of the benthos. So the question is: should they be on the endangered species list? O. rosmarus divergens  The Atlantic walrus once ranged south to Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and as late as the 18th century was found in large numbers in the Greater Gulf of St. Lawrence region, sometimes in colonies of up to 7,000 to 8,000 individuals.  In April 2006, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the population of the northwestern Atlantic walrus in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador as having been eradicated in Canada. There are eight hypothetical subpopulations of Atlantic walruses, based largely on their geographical distribution and movements: five west of Greenland and three east of Greenland. It has also been noted that the mortality rate increased in the early 1980’s and walruses were weighing less. The walrus can live in the wild from 30 to 40 years. , Due to its great size and tusks, the walrus has only two natural predators: the killer whale (orca) and the polar bear. This more widely separates lactating females from their calves, increasing nutritional stress for the young and lower reproductive rates.  This population was nearly eradicated by commercial harvest; their current numbers, though difficult to estimate, probably remain below 20,000. The archaic English word for walrus—morse—is widely thought to have come from the Slavic languages, which in turn borrowed it from Finno-Ugric languages. They are easier to take away then when they are killed in the water and have to be removed from it. The walrus is easily recognised by its sheer size and magnificent tusks. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. Arctic summer sea ice is predicted to disappear completely by 2030 or before, and 40 percent of winter sea ice in the Bering Sea … , Another appearance of the walrus in literature is in the story "The White Seal" in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, where it is the "old Sea Vitch—the big, ugly, bloated, pimpled, fat-necked, long-tusked walrus of the North Pacific, who has no manners except when he is asleep". , Aside from the large numbers of organisms actually consumed by the walrus, its foraging has a large peripheral impact on benthic communities.  Newborn walruses are already quite large, averaging 33 to 85 kg (73 to 187 lb) in weight and 1 to 1.4 m (3 ft 3 in to 4 ft 7 in) in length across both sexes and subspecies. Anyone wishing to export walrus parts or derivatives from Canada must obtain an export permit from the Canadian CITES administration. Researchers believe that this was due to the population reaching the maximum that it could sustain in a given area. It is estimated that close to 250,000 of them are distributed throughout the world at this point in time.  The females join them and copulate in the water. , An isolated population in the Laptev Sea was considered by some authorities, including many Russian biologists and the canonical Mammal Species of the World, to be a third subspecies, O. r. laptevi (Chapskii, 1940), but has since been determined to be of Pacific walrus origin.. , The effects of global climate change are another element of concern. The walrus relies on this ice while giving birth and aggregating in the reproductive period. There is still a fairly high mortality rate among the young walruses though. Males aggregate in the water around ice-bound groups of estrous females and engage in competitive vocal displays. In the poem, the eponymous antiheroes use trickery to consume a great number of oysters. . They have hunted them for their meat, skin, blubber, tusks and bones. , The much smaller population of Atlantic walruses ranges from the Canadian Arctic, across Greenland, Svalbard, and the western part of Arctic Russia. The females begin ovulating as soon as four to six years old. The distinctive 12th-century Lewis Chessmen from northern Europe are carved from walrus ivory. This strategy of delayed implantation, common among pinnipeds, presumably evolved to optimize both the mating season and the birthing season, determined by ecological conditions that promote newborn survival. This still goes on in many areas even though it is considered to be an illegal activity. The age can be determined from the dental tissues that remain after a walrus has died. Armed with its ivory tusks, walruses have been known to fatally injure polar bears in battles if the latter follows the other into the water, where the bear is at a disadvantage.  A genetically distinct population existed in Iceland that was wiped out after Norse settlement around 1213–1330 AD. Tusks are also used to form and maintain holes in the ice and aid the walrus in climbing out of water onto ice.  The Atlantic walrus also tends to have relatively shorter tusks and somewhat more flattened snout. The Russian Atlantic and Laptev Sea populations are classified as Category 2 (decreasing) and Category 3 (rare) in the Russian Red Book . When the U.S. The List of Wildlife Species at Risk currently has more than 800 entries for Canadian wild life species considered vulnerable; including 363 classified as endangered species, —190 threatened species, —235 special concern, and 22 extirpated (no longer found in the wild).  Because of its distinctive appearance, great bulk, and immediately recognizable whiskers and tusks, the walrus also appears in the popular cultures of peoples with little direct experience with the animal, particularly in English children's literature. In 1909, a walrus hide weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb) was collected from an enormous bull in Franz Josef Land, while in August 1910, Jack Woodson shot a 4.9-metre-long (16 ft) walrus, harvesting its 450 kg (1,000 lb) hide. There can be 400 to 700 vibrissae in 13 to 15 rows reaching 30 cm (12 in) in length, though in the wild they are often worn to much shorter lengths due to constant use in foraging. The rapid loss of sea ice due to global warming greatly threatens the survival of the Pacific walrus. The Atlantic walrus should be declared a "species of concern" because hunting has reduced its numbers so much that the species is now threatened. There are two different species of Walru… They are passionate about helping to ensure that the walrus numbers don’t decrease. , The "walrus" in the cryptic Beatles song "I Am the Walrus" is a reference to the Lewis Carroll poem.  Walrus milk contains higher amounts of fats and protein compared to land animals but lower compared to phocid seals. Nunavut – According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which advises the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Atlantic walrus is at risk of extinction. Make sure the officials you elect. descended from a single ancestor, or diphyletic, recent genetic evidence suggests all three descended from a caniform ancestor most closely related to modern bears. Personalize it with photos & text or purchase as is! fun facts.  Also like phocids, it lacks external ears. The Boone and Crockett Big Game Record book has entries for Atlantic and Pacific walrus. This is because they do use the entire walrus for food and other necessities they have for their own survival. has two main predators Orca and polar bear. The walrus palate is uniquely vaulted, enabling effective suction. Vote smart. Atlantic walruses are unique endangered Arctic species. by Walrus-World | Nov 22, 2013 | Conservation |. To minimize deadly disturbances and minimize human-polar bear conflict, WWF is establishing artificial feeding spots on polar …  Rarely, incidents of walruses preying on seabirds, particularly the Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia), have been documented. ] Compare морж (morž) in Russian, mursu in Finnish, morša in Northern Saami, and morse in French. One of the most successful efforts they have contributed to is getting the trading of ivory banned in many countries. The term divergens in Latin means "turning apart", referring to their tusks.  The walrus sucks the meat out by sealing its powerful lips to the organism and withdrawing its piston-like tongue rapidly into its mouth, creating a vacuum. The walrus's body shape shares features with both sea lions (eared seals: Otariidae) and seals (true seals: Phocidae). The Atlantic Walrus: status: threatened, Numbers: diminishing. This and its lack of orbital roof allow it to protrude its eyes and see in both a frontal and dorsal direction. Breeding occurs from January to March, peaking in February. The origin of the word walrus is thought by J.R.R. , Walruses prefer shallow shelf regions and forage primarily on the sea floor, often from sea ice platforms. Ecologically, the Walrus is important as the only species in its genus and a key link in the Arctic food web between bivalve molluscs and humans. While some outsized Pacific males can weigh as much as 2,000 kg (4,400 lb), most weigh between 800 and 1,700 kg (1,800 and 3,700 lb). , The isolated population of Laptev Sea walruses is confined year-round to the central and western regions of the Laptev Sea, the eastmost regions of the Kara Sea, and the westmost regions of the East Siberian Sea. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) lists the Atlantic walrus as “special concern,” while the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) places the mammal in their “data deficient” category.  Polar bear–walrus battles are often extremely protracted and exhausting, and bears have been known to break away from the attack after injuring a walrus. Its second part has also been hypothesized to come from the Old Norse word for "horse".  The vibrissae are attached to muscles and are supplied with blood and nerves, making them highly sensitive organs capable of differentiating shapes 3 mm (1⁄8 in) thick and 2 mm (3⁄32 in) wide.  Recent multigene analysis indicates the odobenids and otariids diverged from the phocids about 20–26 million years ago, while the odobenids and the otariids separated 15–20 million years ago. The migration between the ice and the beach can be long-distance and dramatic. Tolkien to derive from a Germanic language, and it has been attributed largely to either the Dutch language or Old Norse. Inhabits the … Skin and bone are used in some ceremonies, and the animal appears frequently in legends. Both in Chukotka and Alaska, the aurora borealis is believed to be a special world inhabited by those who died by violence, the changing rays representing deceased souls playing ball with a walrus head. During the 1930’s the walrus was protected in the United States and Canada. The walrus is a mammal in the order Carnivora. An estimated four to seven thousand Pacific walruses are harvested in Alaska and in Russia, including a significant portion (about 42%) of struck and lost animals. Adult walrus are characterised by prominent tusks and whiskers, and their considerable bulk: adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds) and, among pinnipeds, are exceeded in size only by the two species of elephant seals. They were also noticed in locations where they hadn’t resided for years.  The Pacific walrus is not listed as "depleted" according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act nor as "threatened" or "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. It is the sole surviving member of the family Odobenidae, one of three lineages in the suborder Pinnipedia along with true seals (Phocidae) and eared seals (Otariidae).  Length typically ranges from 2.2 to 3.6 m (7 ft 3 in to 11 ft 10 in). The species name rosmarus is Scandinavian. Receive information about animals, environment, nature and our planet. Noise and disturbance from shipping, aircraft, and human activities including oil and gas They don’t want to meat from it but just the thrill of being able to kill something that large. Pacific walrus may be listed under Endangered Species Act The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that they are considering granting Endangered Species Act protections to the Continue reading “Pacific walrus may be listed under Endangered Species Act” … The Atlantic Walruses were heavily hunted in the 17th and 18th centuries and by the end of the 18th century they had sadly become endangered due to hunting, climate changes and industrial development. Thought to be most closely related to Fur Seals, Walruses are the second largest ocean-dwelling mammals that come ashore to breed after Elephant Seals and are highly distinctive amongst pinnipeds due to their sensitive whiskers and long tusks. Another problem though is that some hunters have found the concept of killing a walrus to be one that they are enthralled by.  Because ovulation is suppressed until the calf is weaned, females give birth at most every two years, leaving the walrus with the lowest reproductive rate of any pinniped. It is a keystone species in Arctic marine ecosystems. The Atlantic walrus is listed on Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  An alternative theory is that it comes from the Dutch words wal "shore" and reus "giant"..  The males reach sexual maturity as early as seven years, but do not typically mate until fully developed at around 15 years of age. The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere.The walrus is the only living species in the family Odobenidae and genus Odobenus.This species is subdivided into two subspecies: the Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), which lives in the Atlantic … , Seal tissue has been observed in fairly significant proportion of walrus stomachs in the Pacific, but the importance of seals in the walrus diet is under debate. The Atlantic Walrus is endangered. Several place names in Iceland, Greenland and Norway may originate from walrus sites: Hvalfjord, Hvallatrar and Hvalsnes to name some, all being typical walrus breeding grounds.  The key distinguishing feature was the development of a squirt/suction feeding mechanism; tusks are a later feature specific to Odobeninae, of which the modern walrus is the last remaining (relict) species. This recovery strategy for the Atlantic walrus (Northwest Atlantic population) has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions responsible for the species, as described in the Preface. While some of these uses have faded with access to alternative technologies, walrus meat remains an important part of local diets, and tusk carving and engraving remain a vital art form. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to classify the Pacific Walrus as a threatened or endangered species.  The sustainability of these levels of harvest is difficult to determine given uncertain population estimates and parameters such as fecundity and mortality. The maximal number of teeth is 38 with dentition formula: 220.127.116.11.1.3.2, but over half of the teeth are rudimentary and occur with less than 50% frequency, such that a typical dentition includes only 18 teeth 1.1.3.00.1.3.0, Surrounding the tusks is a broad mat of stiff bristles ("mystacial vibrissae"), giving the walrus a characteristic whiskered appearance.  Walruses live mostly in shallow waters above the continental shelves, spending significant amounts of their lives on the sea ice looking for benthic bivalve mollusks to eat. The population of walruses dropped rapidly all around the Arctic region.  However, killer whales have been observed successfully attacking walruses with few or no injuries.. They weigh 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb) at birth and are able to swim.  Reduced coastal sea ice has also been implicated in the increase of stampeding deaths crowding the shorelines of the Chukchi Sea between eastern Russia and western Alaska. , While this was not true of all extinct walruses, the most prominent feature of the living species is its long tusks. During the 19th century and the early 20th century, walruses were widely hunted and killed for their blubber, walrus ivory, and meat.  However, even an injured walrus is a formidable opponent for a polar bear, and direct attacks are rare. , The walrus plays an important role in the religion and folklore of many Arctic peoples. Its first part is thought to derive from a word such as Dutch walvis "whale". The Russian Atlantic and Laptev Sea populations are classified as Category 2 (decreasing) and Category 3 (rare) in the Russian Red Book. "Estimating the harvest of Pacific walrus, "An assessment of Greenland walrus populations", "Wildlife Conservation | Deer Hunting | Elk Hunting | Big Game Hunting", "Warming Arctic Is Taking a Toll, Peril to Walrus Young Seen as Result of Melting Ice Shelf", "Global warming could reverse a walrus comeback", "As Arctic Sea ice reaches annual minimum, large number of walrus corpses found", "Pacific Walrus and climate change: observations and predictions", "Group plans to sue over walrus protection", "The Folklore of Northeastern Asia, as Compared with That of Northwestern America", "The Eskimo of Baffin Land and Hudson Bay", "The use of molluscs to occupy Pacific walrusses (, "The Delights of Parsing the Beatles' Most Nonsensical Song", Biologist Tracks Walruses Forced Ashore As Ice Melts, Thousands Of Walruses Crowd Ashore Due To Melting Sea Ice, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Walrus&oldid=997415948, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from September 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2018, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2019, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from June 2019, Taxonbars with automatically added original combinations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 11:30.  A 28,000-year-old fossil walrus was dredged up from the bottom of San Francisco Bay, indicating that Pacific walruses ranged that far south during the last Ice Age.