Thousands of Pacific walruses again herd up on Alaska coast

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is monitoring Pacific walruses resting on Alaska's northwest coast.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros says people in Point Lay reported hearing walruses Aug. 22.

An aerial survey Aug. 30 estimated 25,000 walruses on a barrier island near the village.

Walruses over the last decade have come to shore on the Alaska and Russia side of the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE) Sea as sea ice diminishes because of global warming.

Walruses use sea ice to rest as they dive to the ocean floor to hunt for clams and snails.

When ice recedes north of the shallow continental shelf, walruses head to beaches, where young animals are vulnerable to being crushed in stampedes caused by the sight of polar bears, airplanes or hunters.