Astonishing photos were captured Saturday which showed the massive marine mammals “hauled out” onto the shore, the Associated Press reports.
The phenomenon was spotted about 5 miles north of the Eskimo village of Point Lay during the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’s annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey, which was conducted in conjunction with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Walruses — unlike seals — are unable to swim in the ocean continuously and must find a places to rest. They typically mount up on giant chunks of floating ice, but the recent rise in our planet’s temperature as sent the mammals scattering to find new places to lounge.
“It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program, Margaret Williams.
The annual low point of the sea ice this summer was the sixth smallest on record since satellite’s began monitoring its progress in 1979, according to the AP
“The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”