Walrus haulout near Point Lay, Alaska
An estimated 35,000 walruses came ashore near Point Lay, Alaska during the month of September.
Walruses may spend up to 80% of their lives in the water, but they still need to rest. Usually, they haul themselves up onto floating sea ice with their tusks, but the lack of sea ice this autumn, has led them to solid ground.
A similar concentration happened in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
When there is plenty of sea ice, the walruses are scattered about the Chukchi Sea. When they gather in large groups on shore like near Point Lay, there is a danger of getting trampled to death in stampedes, especially for the young. There are approximately 50 walrus carcasses currently on the beach near Point Lay. There is some indication that at least one polar bear and several brown bears have taken an interest in the congregation of walruses.
Photos courtesy of Corey Arrarado/NOAA