No proof walrus are “struggling from the loss of sea ice” as new Earthjustice lawsuit claims

A new day, a new lawsuit by environmentalists: this time, the species-on-a-pedestal is the same population of Chukchi Sea walrus that generated a news frenzy last month, which apparently still has legs.

Walrus puss_USGS_IMG_4763

Courtesy Alaska Dispatch News (“Environmentalists sue feds to protect Pacific walruses from oil drilling” 10 November 2014):

Environmental groups on Monday sued the federal government over a rule that would allow Arctic oil exploration in areas that could hurt Pacific walruses, which already are struggling from the loss of sea ice.

Earthjustice brought the suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of a coalition of conservation groups that have long been opposed to Arctic drilling.”

The groups also are challenging the agency’s environmental assessment and “finding of no significant impact.” The suit asserts the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly consider travel corridors between haulouts and the shoal and arbitrarily concluded that any impacts were properly mitigated.

Earthjustice is bringing the suit on behalf of the Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands, Sierra Club and by the Natural Resources Defense Council.” [my bold]

Read the whole report here.

Watch my short video refuting the claims that female walrus with calves only haul out on land when there is no ice available and that this phenomenon has only occurred since 2007, copied below (the briefing paper it summarizes is here).

Far from “struggling from the loss of sea ice” it appears Chukchi Sea walrus numbers are higher than they have been in decades, with signs the population may be close to the carrying capacity of its habitat.

And if you missed it, have a look at “Where have all the walrus gone?for a rare discussion of what happened to the walrus herd a few days after the much publicized late September 2014 event.

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