…that’s a lot of scrimshaw.
Video doing the rounds this week of some walruses hauled out at Point Lay Alaska. No biggie, right? Oh yeah, Biggie. Big-time Biggie. That’s because it isn’t ten or even a hundred walruses, but over TEN THOUSAND walruses.
Recession of sea ice is being proposed as an explanation for the unprecedented haulout. Walruses would normally haul out onto floating ice cots to take a break from foraging for clams and other goodies on the bottom. But without ice they have no choice but to hoof it (flipper it?) back to land for a rest.
From a purely bioenergetic perspective, it’s an amazing occurrence. At some 3,500 pounds each, that many walruses adds up to over 16,000 tons of walrus meat in one place. That’s about the same weight as a South Carolina Class Battleship. Imagining the legions raking the bottom with their ivory tusks, I don’t expect there are too many benthic invertebrates left on the bit of coast adjacent to that.
I’m pretty sure they keep each other warm but the smell has got to be EPIC!