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Walrus

Walruses at Cape SeniavinMale walruses haul out below the cliffs at Cape Seniavin. Although the Cape is not Refuge land, we protect this marine species wherever it is found.

Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) occur around the Northern Hemisphere. Pacific walruses from the Bering and Chukchi Seas tend to be largest in body size, dimensions of the skull, and length of the tusks. The English name “walrus” probably was borrowed from the Dutch “walrus” or “walros”. To the Eskimo, it is known as “aivuk” (Yupic) or “aivik” (Inuit), and to the Aleut as “amak” or “amaghak”. Walrus adults are sexually dimorphic, the males being about 20% longer and 50% heavier than the females. Adults of the Atlantic form are about 3% shorter and 10% lighter than those of the Pacific. The skin on the neck and shoulders is very thick and tends to be thrown into folds with the animal’s movements. In basic color, walruses are cinnamon-brown, but there is some variation with age and sex. Most walrus populations appear to be migratory, moving southward with the advancing ice in autumn and northward as it recedes in spring. The present world population of walruses probably does not exceed 250 thousand individuals, at least four-fifths of which are in the North Pacific (Bering-Chukchi) region.
Page Photo Credits — Walruses at Cape Seniavin, Julia Pinnix/USFWS
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2014
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