Friday, August 22, 2008


Still in Franz Josef Land, we were lucky to come upon a group of walrus on an ice floe. The zodiacs went out, and slowly approached with the engines off and the paddles out, approaching as a silent group, and stopping at a distance, where they drifted for an hour or so. Unlike in the Antarctic, where the animals are not timid, here they have a long history of being hunted, both by people and occasionally bears. So often seals and walrus will plunge into the water before you can get close enough to really see them. This group of walrus stayed out on the ice, providing a great view of them all afternoon.

Among the pinnipeds (group including the various seals and walrus), they are second largest, second only to the elephant seals. Males in this part of the arctic reach 2200 pounds or 1000 kg, and females only 1322 pounds or 600 kg.

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