Walruses Odobenus rosmarus are the gentle giants of the Arctic.
Weighing anywhere from 1,300 to 3,300 pounds, these massive pinnipeds are well known for their large tusks, which can grow up to 3 feet long! They spend their days diving down to feed on shellfish mostly, and hauling out onto ice packs and beaches to rest.
Walruses are extremely social and snort and bellow loudly at their companions. During the mating season they are quite aggressive. Both sexes sport impressive tusks, and the individuals with the largest tusks generally gain a higher social status among the group. Mating season takes place each year between December and March, and a female’s gestation period lasts from 12-15 months where they give birth to one baby Walrus!
There are 2 sub-populations of Walrus, the Atlantic and the Pacific Walrus. In the 1950’s, Walruses were hunted nearly to extinction, but by the 1980’s the populations around the world had made a comeback.
Currently, populations around the world are believed to be doing well, but are threatened by the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems, and the ongoing threat of human activity in the Arctic (oil drilling). Walruses are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ to extinction by the IUCN Red List.