Mighty and Defenseless: a Unique Walrus Video Filmed in the Nenetsk Nature Reserve

Фото: Юлия Богомолова

The "Week of the Walrus" timed to coincide with the Day of the Walrus, which is celebrated on November 24, is coming to an end in the Nenets Reserve. The reserve acquaints everyone with a unique video filmed at a large haulout of a rare Atlantic subspecies of walrus on Matveyev Island, where there are more than 500 animals.

A convenient and safe place for walruses was and is the southern coast of the protected Matveyev Island, where they prefer an 800-meter pebble spit in the southwestern part of the island for recreation. During the field work, the staff of the Nenetsk Reserve are observing walruses for many hours in any weather. Such annual ground monitoring allows accumulation of more and more new data on the behavior and number of the animals, seasonal dynamics of the Matveyev haulout.

In the summer period, the haulout on Matveyev Island is occupied exclusively by male walruses. And in the autumn months, females come to the haulout with cubs of different ages, including underyearlings - walruses born in the current year. Walruses do not leave the haulout until late autumn, when ice begins to form around the island. Then they migrate and return at the beginning of June.

Studies show that the Matveyev Island haulout has been used by walruses for hundreds of years. At the time when the hunting of this animal was allowed, the number of walruses here greatly decreased and it recovered only after the hunting had been banned. Today, these animals, like other inhabitants of the Arctic, are threatened by the intensive anthropogenic development of the Arctic latitudes and climate warming.