Despite efforts being made to preserve at-risk species, the number of animals being added to the list of endangered species is quite alarming.
Even well-known creatures are making their way onto this list.
This guide aims to help you understand the endangered status of the Pacific walrus. Has this species been added to the endangered list? We’ve got the answers.
What Is The Pacific Walrus?
The Pacific walrus is a big marine mammal. These large animals are known for their two ivory tusks, which both males and female walruses possess. These tusks take years to develop.
Another iconic feature of these animals is their flippers. Pacific walruses also tend to have lots of distinctive whiskers.
The body of the Pacific walrus is incredibly thick. It is this hide that enables walruses to live in cold temperatures.
Pacific walruses are heavy. Male walruses tend to weigh a maximum of 2 tons. Female walruses are smaller and, therefore, weigh less. Despite this, they can still weigh approximately 1.5 tons.
As hinted by the name, Pacific walruses reside in the Pacific Ocean. Another subspecies is the Atlantic Walrus, which is native to the Atlantic Ocean.
Is The Pacific Walrus Considered An Endangered Species?
Though many have campaigned for the Pacific walrus to be classified as endangered, this animal does not meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.
In order for a species to be endangered, it must meet certain criteria. For instance, the population must have significantly declined.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) found evidence that the Pacific walrus should be considered an endangered species. This was because the habitat of this species was being affected by climate change.
However, after further consideration in 2017, the USFWS came to the conclusion that the Pacific walrus would not qualify as an endangered species.
The current conservation status of the Pacific walrus is “vulnerable.” Essentially, this means that the Pacific is at high risk of becoming extinct in the wild.
This category is right before “endangered.” Consequently, the Pacific walrus might be added to the endangered list in the next few years.
Hopefully, conservation efforts will prevent Pacific walruses from ever entering this stage of potential extinction.
Why Is The Pacific Walrus Considered An Endangered Species?
The main reason why people are concerned about Pacific walruses becoming extinct is due to the effect that climate change is having on the environment.
Climate change is resulting in oceans becoming increasingly warm. This is causing ice to melt in colder parts of the water.
This is resulting in the feeding of female and young Pacific walruses becoming limited. Walruses use ice as a place where they can rest and feed.
Because of global warming, Pacific walruses no longer have access to these blocks of ice. This causes them to have reduced access to food.
Due to the lack of ice in the sea, Pacific walruses enter shorelines. Especially in the summer, female walruses and their children will have to arrive on land. This exposes young Pacific walruses to serious threats.
How Many Pacific Walruses Are Left?
Pacific walrus populations are declining rather rapidly. Though it is difficult to know how many of these walruses are left, it has been estimated that there are approximately 129,000 Pacific walruses left.
This estimate was calculated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
More conservative efforts have approximated that roughly 200,000 walruses still exist. Either way, the Pacific walrus population is quite low. This is why efforts should be made to preserve Pacific walruses before they become extinct.
How Can Pacific Walruses Be Protected?
If you have an interest in preserving the Pacific walrus population, there are a few steps that you can take to help this species.
Donate Money To A Conservation Charity
Many conservation charities rely on donations. Most organizations allow you to either donate a one-off sum or commit to a regular donation basis.
For instance, you can donate monthly. Just bear in mind that you pick a charity that helps Pacific walruses, as different organizations will conserve different species.
Adopt A Walrus
Adopting an animal won’t mean living with it! Instead, you will pay money towards an organization. This money will be put towards preserving the animal.
Not only will your adoption benefit Pacific walruses, but these schemes tend to offer benefits. For instance, you might receive updates and newsletters.
You might even relieve a cuddly toy of the animal that you have adopted.
If you want to adopt a Pacific walrus, you might want to visit the Defenders of Wildlife website. This organization is attempting to reverse the effects of climate change. They do this by protecting the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.
One way of doing this is by heightening spill responses. When oil is spilled, it can harm the environment.
Thankfully, Defenders of Wildlife are working to ensure that the response to this spill is fast and effective.
Defenders of Wildlife offer two different adoption packages at different prices. The gifts you get for adopting a walrus will differ depending on which package you choose.
Not everyone will be aware that the population of Pacific walruses is decreasing. Consequently, you can raise awareness to aid this species.
To increase awareness, you can share posts on social media, create informative pamphlets, and set up events for fundraising.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Belugas Extinct?
These creatures are not extinct. However, beluga whales are close to extinction. The population has decreased dramatically. Therefore, organizations are working to preserve these whales.
What Is The Difference Between Pacific And Atlantic Walruses?
Pacific walruses tend to be larger than their Atlantic counterparts. Moreover, Atlantic walruses have smaller tusks. They also have noticeably different skulls, with the Pacific walrus skull being larger.
Extinction is a serious threat to several species. The way that humans are treating the planet is having a detrimental effect on it.
If humans continue to misuse their resources, more species could become endangered. Hopefully, humanity can prevent Pacific walruses from becoming endangered or, even worse, extinct.