January 22, 2022 6:19 pm

A Dutch submarine, the ideal resting place for this walrus

Although the morsas (Odobenus rosmarus) are mammals used to the cold arctic seas, sometimes they go much further south, to the point of appearing in places as unexpected as Spain, France, or, even in Holland, as is the case of a female walrus that has appeared resting in this country on a submarine.

By 2035, the Arctic is expected to be completely ice-free during the summer

“Walruses are known to swim great distances and we can only speculate about the reasons that have led this one in particular to move away from its frozen habitat in the Arctic,” he tells SINC Jeroen Hoekendijk, from the Royal Dutch Marine Research Institute (NIOZ), author of the photos.

The walrus chose as its resting place – in a curious coincidence – a submarine Walrus class of the Dutch navy called ‘Sr. ms. Dolphin‘, docked in the port of The hero, where Hoekendijk was able to photograph her resting peacefully on multiple occasions.

An unusual sighting

In the Netherlands there are references to walrus sightings from 1521, the year of Dürer’s painting ‘Head of a walrus’.

“Therefore, we cannot link the sighting of this animal with climate change, although, of course, global warming poses a great threat to walruses in general,” says the expert.

By 2035 the Arctic is expected to be fully ice free during the summer. Walruses depend on this sea ice to rest, have their young, and shed their skin.

The walrus, resting on the deck of the submarine. / Jeroen Hoekendijk Ⓒ

As the ice recedes, the distances at feeding zones they will increase, causing all kinds of energy restrictions for these animals: “they will need more time to get to these places, leaving less time available to search for food or breastfeed the young”, warns the researcher.

“In addition, we are seeing an increase in walruses coming out on land – rather than on ice – causing more competition for space.” A problem that, according to Hoekendijk, is well reflected in the documentary `Planet Earth´.

This female walrus, which some media have dubbed ‘Freya’, will continue to feed on the shellfish that it finds for a while Mar the Wadden and resting on its shores, although the scientist hopes that at some point “it will be able to return to its natural habitat, in the icy waters of the Arctic.”

Meanwhile, not far from there, the The Glasgow Climate Summit enters its second week of negotiations, some of them related to mitigating the impact of global warming on the place of origin of this marine mammal, which, oblivious to human ins and outs, will continue to explore the world quietly to thousands of miles from home.

Source: SINC

Rights: Creative Commons.


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