Welsh Marine Life - Walrus Special

In follow up to the Arctic Walrus being sighted a few days back at Broad Haven South, Pembrokeshire. Our team wanted to highlight facts about this majestic marine mammal and equally cover recommendations for what to do if you spot one while out Paddleboarding in Wales.

Read on to find out more...

Picture Taken - Broad Haven South, 2020. 

Interesting Facts

1. Walruses have amazingly long tusks that are surrounded by stiff bristles. Their tusks are multi functional and used for making breathing holes in the Artic Ice, or for fighting, or for helping to haul themselves out of the water.

2. There are two main subspecies of Walrus in the world which typically reside in different areas from within the Arctic circle.

3. According to WWF there are around 25,000 Walrus in the Atlantic Ocean and a staggering 200,000 in the Pacific Ocean. 

4. Walruses can weigh up to 600 to 1,500 kilograms (1,320 to 3,300 lbs)

5. Walruses breed once every 2 to 3 years, and offspring then take around the same time to reach independence. Source - ADW.

6. Walruses can grow up to 3.2 meters long (10.5 feet).

7. Walruses cruise in water around 4 mph (6-7 km/h) and can reach speeds of up to 21 mph (33-34 km/h). 

8. Walruses are rarely found in deep water as they cleverly use their extremely sensitive whiskers to identify food in shallow waters.

9. Walruses typically eat Clams, Crabs, Shrimp, Soft Corals, Sea Cucumbers and various other mollusks.

10. Walruses have a lifespan of up to 40 years. 

The Sad Truth

Melting Artic Ice due to climate change results in Walruses being separated from their herd as they drift south on icebergs while sleeping in the sun. As we've seen, the Walrus eventually lands on the shores that are far south from the normal natural habitat, and arrive in countries like Ireland or Wales. 

The International Union for Conversation of Nature (IUCN) categorise Walruses as vulnerable mammals which means unless more is done within the global community to protect these majestic mammals numbers will likely decrease to when they were hunted previously and will again enter the endangered list. The recent sightings in County Kerry (Ireland) and County Pembrokeshire (Wales) could be an indication of this happening before our very eyes in regard to climate change which if so, isn't great news for us or the Walruses.

Rod Downie, Chief Polar Advisor of the WWF refers to this as:

'we are waking a sleeping giant as a result of climate change. What happens in the Artic doesn't stay in the Arctic. It's on the UK's doorstep and it affects us all'

Although, it might seem exciting with new mammals gracing our lands, the sad truth is that unless more is done collectively as a community to tackle climate change then this could be a sight that people and paddlers might be get used to for the wrong reasons. 

 

Paddle Protocol

As this season begins, SUP Wales recommends to be vigilant if you come across a wandering Walrus whilst out on the water as they can be dangerous.

 

The RSCPA has also provided sound advice which recommends to keep your distance, which is similar to Grey Seal protocol, and if you see the mammal in distress calmly dial 0300 1234 999 sighting your specific location. 

#walrusspecial #welshcoast #paddleboarding #sighting #supsafe #environment #marinesuplife #rspca #wwf #protocol #supwales
 

 

 

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