Walrus attacks eider ducks

This video from Alaska says about itself:

Teshekpuk Lake is located on the North Slope of Alaska and is one of the most ecologically important wetlands in the entire Arctic. This sensitive area provides habitat for tens of thousands of molting geese, threatened species like the Spectacled Eider, and the 45,000-head Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd. This video was sponsored by Audubon Alaska and the Wildlife Conservation Society, in cooperation with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

From Discovery News:

Walrus Attacks Ducks in Rare Footage

Analysis by Emily Laut

Thu May 13, 2010 02:04 AM ET

BBC nature film director Jeff Wilson and his team were filming spectacled eider — large Arctic sea ducks — from a helicopter. At this time of year, the ducks gather in huge, floating flocks that make for impressive footage.

But suddenly, something weird happened. “There were certain pockets of ducks that started to fly away in big starbursts. It’s not normal for ducks to expend energy like that,” Wilson said. The culprit soon surfaced in the middle of the starburst — a big, hungry ‘ole walrus.

“It then started to chase the ducks. It was pretty obvious it was hunting them,” Wilson says. During the 75 minutes the crew filmed, the walrus made eight such attacks.

This is a highly unusual behavior for walruses, who mostly eat mollusks and other small seafloor prey. Walruses have been known to eat a bird if the opportunity presents itself — who wouldn’t? But no one has ever reported a walrus attack on a large flock and this is the first time such behavior has been caught on film.

Professor James Lovvorn of Southern Illinois University is on the case. He thinks the walrus’s repeated attacks on the flock and the ducks’ dramatic reaction are indications that ducks may be on the menu for walruses. He is concerned that lurking walruses might restrict eider flocks that number in the thousands to a few patches of open water. Professor Lovvorn’s study is published in the Journal of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Footage of the walrus attacks is available on BBC Earth News.

June 2010. Scientists from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) fear that hungry polar bears are jeopardising a conservation success story by eating the eggs of barnacle geese as the lack of Arctic ice is preventing the bears from successfully undertaking their usual seal hunting.

An Arctic expedition has confirmed fears that polar bears are preying on the eggs of barnacle geese who migrate to the Solway Firth each winter: here.

Unpredictable Arctic Ice Imperils Pacific Walrus: here.

USGS Confirms Thousands of Walruses Hauling-Out on Alaska’s Northwest Coast as Sea Ice Rapidly Retreats: here.

Scientists concerned for safety of walruses as thousands crowd on shore: here.

Will Global Warming Doom the Pacific Walrus? Here.

The drastic changes in the Arctic wrought by global warming aren’t just threatening that icon of climate change the polar bear, they’re also jeopardizing the health of other species–like the Pacific walrus. Environmentalists petitioned the federal government years ago to add the walrus to the endangered species list, but progress on the case has been slow. Now, in a decision that has angered both activists and oil drillers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that even though our be-blubbered friends deserve recognition under the Endangered Species Act, there are just too many other endangered animals to take care of first: here.


3 thoughts on “Walrus attacks eider ducks

  1. Pingback: United States’ most popular birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Save endangered animal species | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Spectacled eider video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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