#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Today the Arctic regions of Russia are celebrating Walrus Day. This ecological holiday was initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Council for Marine Mammals in 2008. It aims to draw attention to the problems of conservation of the unique marine mammals.
Leonid Kolpashchikov, head of the science department of the Taimyr Reserves Joint Directorate, told the This Is Taimyr correspondent that the Pacific subspecies of the walrus lives in Russia, as well as two Red Book ones – the Atlantic and Laptev.
One of the traditional rookeries of the Laptev walrus on the territory of the eastern part of Taimyr is Tsvetkov’s cape, where, according to the latest data, about 400 individuals are concentrated.
“The latest expedition of the World Wildlife Organization took place in 2013-2014, then about 400 walrus individuals were found. This is a unique species and a rather large animal: its body length can reach 5 meters, and its weight is 1.5 tons. Unfortunately, research is rarely done due to the remoteness of the site and the lack of proper transport. Of course, the scientists of the reserve monitor the population of walruses in this area, but to preserve the unique representative of the Arctic fauna, joint efforts of scientific and environmental organizations, subsoil users and government bodies are needed”, the source said.
According to him, today the main threat to pinnipeds is global warming, which leads to a reduction in the ice cover.
“Warming has a negative impact on the number of walruses: the area of the ice cover is decreasing, and walruses are forced to move from ice to land. Thus, they massively accumulate in new rookeries, which leads to the death of young animals”, explained Leonid Kolpashchikov.
Note that walruses live in the wild for about 30 years. They feed on crustaceans, molluscs and invertebrates, as well as fish. In summer and autumn, they gather on coastal rookeries, and in winter and spring they live on ice, where females bring offspring.
As a rule, the weight of newborn walruses is 40-50 kilograms. Up to two years old, females feed their young with milk, in the third year of life, walruses switch to independent feeding. It is known that they have only two enemies in nature – the polar bear and the killer whale, which prey on young walruses.
Text: Ekaterina Elkanova, Photo: Alexander Zheleznyak and Vitaly Gorshkov