A Face Only a Mother Could Love?
A close up of a female walrus resting after entering the haulout. Sand from the beach is evident on her tusks. Thousands of walruses gathered to rest on the shore near the Alaskan coastal community of Point Lay during September of 2013 after sea ice disappeared from their offshore foraging grounds in the eastern Chukchi Sea.
The Pacific walrus is a large pinniped, resident in the Bering and Chukchi Seas of Russia and Alaska, and is one of four marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Walruses feed on clams and a wide variety of other invertebrates from the seafloor. They rest between feeding trips on sea ice or land. Sea ice provides walruses with a resting platform, access to offshore feeding areas, and seclusion from humans and predators. The constant motion of sea ice transports resting walruses over widely dispersed prey patches.
(Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-3)
Location: Point Lay, AK, USA
Photographer: Ryan Kingsbery, USGS