Climate Changes Taking away Homes

10.22.2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

People around the world have begun to realize that the world’s climate change is creating a big problem for more species than could be imagined. More and more evidence of the negative affects of this increasing temperature are being found in the North and South poles where ice is melting. The Chukchi Sea near Alaska is home to many species of wildlife, including walruses.

This past September, an estimated 35,000 walruses were seen gathered on a beach. While walruses are social and large gatherings are normal, walruses prefer gathering on ice. In an article published by The New York Times, scientists share that “These massive haul-outs, as they are called, of females and babies have now occurred in six of the last eight summers in Alaska.”

Walruses have easy access to food and protection from predators by climbing up onto nearby icebergs. With all the ice melted in the Chukchi sea, these walruses are forced to crowd onto beaches. This could severely harm the species as they are more vulnerable to predators and may not be able to raise their pups as easily on the beach. The walruses also have to travel farther to get food as they prefer food in deeper water such as clams and snails that dwell on the seabed. Another risk is posed with such large numbers gathered in one area. When walruses are frightened, they may stampede and any young or weak walruses could be trampled. These large gatherings on the beaches and shores of the sea may also disturb other species’ habitats that may live and thrive off of the beach. Feeding and breeding from land is unhealthy for the walrus population because their natural home is on the ice.

Awareness of the world’s climate change needs to continue to be spread. If ice continues to melt at this rate, many species could lose their homes and become endangered. The walruses of the Chukchi sea are just one example of the danger that the rising temperature creates.

-Rachael McCabe

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/02/science/earth/in-alaska-thousands-of-walruses-take-to-land.html?ref=earth&_r=0

 

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