Tag Archives: walrus

Round Island wildfire

A smoke jumper spotter watches the Round Island fire from the air; Photo credit: BLM Alaska Fire Service

A wildfire started up on Round Island out in the Aleutians. The fire was started by staff from a Fish & Game campsite, when they used a burn barrel. The dry grass caught quickly, and spread from there. The Alaska Division of Forestry sent an air tanker and six smoke jumpers from Fairbanks to contain the blaze. By the time the fire was contained, approximately 40 acres of the 720 acre island had burned.

Walrus beachcombers of Round Island

Round Island is one of four major pull out locations for Pacific walrus in Alaska, and the island is a part of the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary. As many as 14,000 male walruses haul out on Round Island in a given day.

Like Brooks Falls, the folks at explore.org have a Walrus Cam on Round Island. The soothing sound of waves can be experienced, with the constant baritone grunts of the male walruses jockeying for the most comfortable spot on the beach.

A link to the Walrus Cam:

https://explore.org/livecams/oceans/walrus-cam-round-island


Going Remote

The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea

The Pribilof Islands have been some of the most restricted locations in the United States for the past two years due to Corvid-19 concerns. After a two year hiatus, however, the Pribilofs will reopen for tours in 2022.

The Pribilof Islands consist of four individual islands in the Bering Sea, approximately 200 miles north of Unalaska. The largest of the two are St. Paul and St George. Otter and Walrus Islets complete the quartet and are near St. Paul Island. The Pribilofs are a part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

The cliffs of St George Island

The islands have long attracted Bering Sea wildlife. Some 300 species of birds have been identified visiting the islands, and over 2 million birds nest here every year.

Thick-Billed Murres on St Paul Island

St Paul Island is the breeding grounds for over 1/2 of the world’s fur seal population. Over 100,000 seal pups are born in the Pribilofs every year. Once decimated by the the fur trade, hunting seals on the Pribilofs has been banned since 1966, other than some subsistence hunting by Aleuts.

Northern fur seals on St Paul Island

Walrus Cam


Getting cozy on Round Island

Walrus Cam on Round Island

This is one I didn’t know about: explore.org has a Walrus Cam out on Round Island in Alaska’s beautiful Bristol Bay. The Alaska Fish & Game offers walrus viewing permits between May 1 – August 15, which begs the question: How many do they issue?

As many as 14,000 walruses have been counted on Round Island at one time. If you go, you will also see tens of thousands of seabirds.

Before clicking on the link above, I should warn you that the Walrus Cam does not have the action of the Katmai Bear Cam. No salmon jumping, or bears catching salmon mid-air.

I will say that a walrus sure knows how to relax when visiting Alaska.

Photo & cam credit: explore.org


Walrus Landing

Pt Lay Walrus
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.

Walrus pod

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