Walrus is smarter, more dangerous and more musical than you think.
On the ice floes and rocky shores of the North Atlantic can often see thick, round body cimetastomrke colors lying in a dense crowd. Some of them weigh more than a ton, and some longer than three meters. And we have the characteristic tusks, brush mustache, deep scars and bloodshot eyes. All day long nap, burp, fighting and grunting. In fact, to grunt, as he recorded a polar explorer from the XIX century, “something between a mooing cows and deepest barking mastiff.”
Walruses everyone knows, thanks to a certain extent, the Beatles songs and lyrics by Lewis Carroll, but most of us had never seen them in the wild herd. Malo is a photographer who captured this dangerous, musical and socially advanced Fin, close relatives seals, sea lions and sea elephants.
“He used himself as bait,” says Paul Nicklen, who spent three weeks filming Atlantic walrus with the help of Swedish divers Goran Elme. “I sit on the shore, and walruses would begin to come to me. They were curious. But to find out what you are, you have to strike its tusks. And when the man hit the walrus tusks, it can be fatal. “
Walrus tusks can be long and more than half a meter. Stuck in the ice like a walrus that picks help you get scrambled the iceberg. The same way they are used for duels with rivals and to defend themselves from predators. It is not rare to see proburaženog how a dead polar bear floating on the sea.
Another distinguishing feature are the mustache. Hundreds of hard bristles yellowish bulging over the upper lip, thick as a pen and sensitive as fingers. With these bristles can feel the walruses and recognize objects less than a button on his shirt. And more importantly, can detect shells buried in the seabed. And that would suck the meat from the shells, using his mouth like a vacuum cleaner – strong enough to strip away the skin with some seals.
This powerful creatures and musical. During the breeding season, which lasts from January to April, “adult males sing and emit the most diverse sounds like castanets, bells, guitar chords, or by tapping the drums,” says Erik Born, one of the leading scientists on the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. “The best singer hopes that his song to attract a nice gospojicu Walrus.”
Fifteen months later, the cub oteliće difficult to 45 kilograms. And the next two years of his loving mother will nurture and watch as the eyes in his head. He will carry it on his back and toviti its rich, nutritious milk. And if all goes well, will live the next 40 years.
Something like it used to be unlikely. In the ninth century the Vikings were making massacres among the herds due to fat and skin. A medieval Europe from their tusks were made chess pieces. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, commercial whalers have hunted walruses along the way, which is why their areal, which once stretched all the way to Nova Scotia, significantly reduced.
Today, hunting is permitted mainly Inuit (Eskimos), where walruses are used for food, clothing, tools, carvings of their tusks and oil lamps. It is almost impossible to estimate how many of them once swam in the Atlantic – perhaps hundreds of thousands. And today, they might have somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000. However, despite the monitoring of air and monitoring via satellites, these figures are very misleading.
“Walrus is not easy to measure, and not easy to count,” says Canadian researcher Robert Stewart. “They occupy a very wide area and are kept in groups. And we do not have data from 50 years ago that we would be able to determine whether the population increases or decreases. “
It seems that the biggest problem is the loss of sea ice. Floating icebergs walrus used for nutrition, birth and exit from the water. When you are forced to come ashore, threatened with greater danger than the white bear. According to some sayings, some populations are more vulnerable.
Born recognizes that there is reason for concern, but also offers a bright perspective. Areas where the Atlantic walruses food shells “were once covered with ice,” he says, “but walruses did not have access until the ice cracks. Can now longer to food. Therefore, the withdrawal of the ice may be useful i. “
Perhaps the time will come when they will lean over the world walrus and other troubles, such as poaching, excessive fishing, ship traffic and oil exploitation. But at least for now Atlantic walruses can enjoy their delicious shells and beautiful isolation.