The walrus is a large marine animal best known for their large size, tusks and whiskers. They are similar in appearance to a seal, which they are sometimes classified as, and share many traits with these relatives. They are a cold water species and spend most of their time on the sea ice which they use as a diving platform in the search for bivalve mollusks, which are their favorite food. They have long been an important species in the regions that they inhabit because they provide a food source and a source of blubber. They are also an important food source for polar bears. There are two subspecies of walruses (although a third is also sometimes debated), the Atlantic walrus and the Pacific walrus. Let’s find out where these subspecies live.
Where do walruses live?
Most of the pacific walruses live on and between the northern coast of eastern Siberia and the northern shore of Alaska. This includes the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea. In winter large numbers can be found throughout the Bering Strait and into the Bering Sea, along the eastern Siberian Coast and southern coast of Alaska. There are approximately 200,000 of this species in the wild.
Atlantic walruses can be found from the Canadian Arctic to the western part of Arctic Russia. This includes Greenland and Svalbard. At the best guess there are 8 subpopulations of the Atlantic walrus. Five are found west of Greenland and three are found to the east. Due to the past extensive hunting of this species there are approximately 20,000 of these remaining in the wild.
There is also an isolated population of walruses that are found in the central and western portions of the Laptev Sea, eastern Kara Sea and western part of the East Siberian Sea. It is estimated that 5,000-10,000 of this subpopulation remain.