Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/@artyukhov_da
These images show how over a thousand ‘vulnerable’ walruses have gathered on a small strip of land in the Siberian sea in what experts say is “ a unique natural phenomenon”.
Locals started noticing the startling gathering of walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) in early October in the Yamal Peninsula in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of north-western Siberia, Russia.
Local media report the number has tripled from around 300 walruses to over 1,000 and Dmitriy Artykhov, Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, said: “This is a unique natural phenomenon. Prior to now they would only arrive on our shores in smaller groups.”
Reports state the gathering includes both adult and baby walruses, which are listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
Local media report that some of the walruses were fitted with special GPS trackers, so scientists could pay close attention to the areas they migrate to.
The images show how the tight-knit group of walruses spread along the beach. The video shows some of the animals in the shallows before a huge gathering of the animals can be seen on a narrow strip of land in the water.
It is unclear why the phenomenon occurs.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, walrus populations were severely depleted by American and European sealers and whalers, which lead to the near local extinction of the Atlantic subspecies.
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