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May 14, 2008

Did you lose your walrus?

Posted: 10:33 AM ET

If so, you might want to check this page on the U.S. Geological Survey's site.  USGS has tagged ten walruses in the Bering Sea, and is following the enormous mammals to check on feeding habits.

Getty Images

Walruses are not currently listed as an endangered species under US law, but the US is considering a petition to protect them.   Hunting of walruses is outlawed under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act, with certain exemptions given to traditional native hunters.

Okay, here's a challenge for loyal readers of the SciTechBlog:  Based on past performance, some of you will see this as valid research on a keystone marine species; others of you will see it as a waste of federal taxpayer dollars.   And at least one of you will make a bad joke about the John Lennon "Walrus" song.   So let 'er rip........

But whatever you may think of this, USGS is offering you a chance to hunt for sea otters.  Hunt for them in a photo, that is:

Southern Sea Otters tend to hang out in blobs of brown sea kelp.   The problem is that a brown sea otter, lolling around in a kelp bed, looks a lot like a blob of brown sea kelp itself.    There are four of them in the picture at this link, taken by USGS Researcher Brian Hatfield.   Click on the photo to see the location of the otters revealed. 

Peter Dykstra     Executive Producer     CNN Science, Tech, and Weather

Posted by: , , ,
Filed under: Animals • Oceans

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Larian LeQuella   May 14th, 2008 10:53 am ET

I had the opportunity to see quite a few Sea Otters in the Monterrey Bay while canoing near the shore. Cute little critters. While a walrus may not benefit from the cute factor of an otter, they are also amazing creatures to observe. To understand them can only help us understand the world we live in, and hopefully we can figure out a way to preserve the biodiversity around us for the sake of our grand children.

The otter picture is a cheat. I didn't see the one in the lower right corner, but the three in the middle really only look like two! 🙂

JJW   May 14th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

George Harrison wrote "I am the Walrus", not Lennon.

Kristyn   May 14th, 2008 2:34 pm ET

They be takin his bukit?

Linda   May 14th, 2008 2:46 pm ET

The photo offers an interesting perspective on the difficulties of gathering wildlife census information. Thank you for posting this.

Gabriel   May 14th, 2008 3:06 pm ET

I'm pretty sure it was a Lennon / McCartney tune JJW. I also caught the ones in the center, but missed the one in the lower right corner. I'll blame it on my really really bad screen though... I agree that Walrus' should be protected. Amazing creatures.

Franko   May 15th, 2008 5:42 am ET

Watch the uTube video; polar bear vs walrus
Another Polar Bear food, not just cute fluffy baby seals.

slieberman   May 20th, 2008 10:22 am ET

What makes the walrus a keystone species?

A walrus story creates cute questions for this blogger | Ecosystem Failure   May 20th, 2008 5:41 pm ET

[...] On May 14, CNN's SciTechBlog did a short piece on the walrus (yes, I am avoiding the word 'walruses'), and it left something to be desired. My comment: "what makes the walrus a keystone species?" awaits moderation. [...]

Dr. Ted Baehr   May 20th, 2008 9:06 pm ET

Oh, hey ! It's former US ambassador to the United Nations, complete disaster John Bolton!

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