Every summer for thousands of years, walruses from as far away as Russia have gathered on a tiny Alaskan island, and this year, people across the globe can witness the incredible sight, thanks to explore.org’s live walrus webcams.
The cameras capture up to 2,000 male Pacific walruses daily as they migrate to Bristol Bay and haul out on the rocky shores of Round Island to rest after the winter mating season.
Meanwhile, the female walruses travel farther north to rest and feed with their calves on ice.
Both male and female walruses have two ivory tusks, which grow throughout their lives, but males have larger tusks, and male walruses can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 2 tons.
“The walrus is a mythical giant of the seas. To most, the creature is a caricature that will only be seen at a zoo or in a depiction from mass media,” explore.org founder Charles Annenberg Weingarten said in a news release. “We are honored to bring people up close to observe the walrus in their natural habitat.”
With four different high-resolution cameras, viewers can watch the males from multiple angels as they feed, sleep, play and fight.
The Main Beach cam is focused on the walruses’ primary haul-out location, where thousands of the animals pack onto the shore, but there are also cameras located along the cliffs so people can see approaching walruses, as well as nesting seabirds and marine animals like whales, sea lions and seals.
Round Island is part of the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary, which was established in 1960 to protect North America’s last remaining terrestrial haul out for Pacific walruses.
The island was scheduled to be closed to visitors this year due to budget constraints, but a donation from Weingarten enabled the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) to keep the habitat open.
ADFG representatives will be contributing to explore.org blogs about the walruses, as well as participating in live chats and answering viewers’ questions on the webcam page.
Related on MNN: