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PACIFIC WALRUS } Odobenus rosmarus divergens

RANGE: Arctic waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas between Alaska and Siberia, as well as the eastern Siberian Sea and western Beaufort Sea

STATUS: The Pacific walrus is protected under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act and is listed under Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

THREATS: Global warming and the recession of Arctic sea ice, oil and gas exploration and drilling, habitat disturbances, ocean acidification, and toxic pollution

With tusks like an elephant and the body of an overgrown seal, the Pacific walrus is one blubbery beast. This ungainly animal, often gathered in large groups on rocky beaches or seen floating on chunks of ice, dives into the water and transforms into a graceful wave gliding through the sea, completely at home in its icy environment. But global warming is melting the sea ice the Pacific walrus needs for resting, socializing, giving birth, and nursing young. To protect the Pacific walrus from the threats of oil development and global warming, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to protect the Pacific walrus under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2008.


Photo by Bill Hickey, USFWS