NOAA researchers recently captured this amazing photo of thousands of walruses on a beach in the Chukchi Sea. NOAA biologists estimate there were roughly 10,000 walruses on the beach as of Sept. 27.
“Large walrus haulouts along the Alaskan coasts in the northeastern Chukchi Sea are a relatively new phenomenon,” said Megan Ferguson, a marine mammal scientist with NOAA Fisheries, in a press release.
Walruses typically use ice as a resting platform while foraging but low ice levels have the animals heading for shore. Researchers say that the use of beaches as a haul out area is a new phenomenon. The first documented large-scale haul out occurred in 2007, when the Chukchi saw record low ice levels. Since then, haul outs have been documented in a number of locations in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
NOAA scientists will be conducting daily surveys through the end of October if weather permits as part of the annual Aerial Survey of Arctic Marine Mammals.
- "We’re all expecting to see this fiscal contraction and a reduction in economic indicators. But the reality is that what’s going on at the state level hasn’t hit the communities yet. It hasn’t hit Juneau yet," local analyst Meilani Schijvens says.
- Scattered throughout Alaska are hundreds of pieces of land that have been transferred to Alaska Native Corporations by the federal government.Some came with contamination. Getting them cleaned up has been a decades long process, and a new report catalogs those contaminated sites, but leaves some questions about who will orchestrate cleanup – and when.
- A bullet struck a Juneau school bus with two students aboard it Wednesday, according to a news release from Juneau Police Department.
- The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has decided to continue allowing religious groups to offer invocations at its meetings after an invocation from a member of the Satanic Temple prompted a call for change.