One of the amazing things about the walrus is that it has been threatened by endangerment two times and made a come back. That is a remarkable feat and goes to show that they are highly adaptable animals. Of course a great deal of their success has to do with the efforts of humans on their behalf. Still, we need to learn from such lessons that we can destroy the walrus if we aren’t careful with our own actions. Many people don’t realize it but the walrus plays a vital role in the ecosystem of the waters where it lives. Since it feeds off of food from the bottom of it, the movements allow a variety of nutrients from the floor of the water to be mixed up. Without this it is unknown how many different plants and organisms would also be lost to the world forever.
At this time, the walrus isn’t considered to be threatened by extinction. A close eye is kept on them though by conservation groups. They are passionate about helping to ensure that the walrus numbers don’t decrease. One of the most successful efforts they have contributed to is getting the trading of ivory banned in many countries.
The fact that they aren’t under protection right now is due to the early efforts of recognizing a drop in their numbers. During the 1930’s the walrus was protected in the United States and Canada. As a result their numbers began to steadily increase. They were also noticed in locations where they hadn’t resided for years. Today the only legal hunting of the walrus is from Native Americans. This is because they do use the entire walrus for food and other necessities they have for their own survival.
However, it is also important for us to look at the reality of it. Many government entities have more to do with their manpower and with their funding than to go after those that illegally hunt the walrus. When people are hunting them for tusks or for food they often do on land. They are easier to take away then when they are killed in the water and have to be removed from it.
Another problem though is that some hunters have found the concept of killing a walrus to be one that they are enthralled by. They don’t want to meat from it but just the thrill of being able to kill something that large. This still goes on in many areas even though it is considered to be an illegal activity.
It has also been noted that the mortality rate increased in the early 1980’s and walruses were weighing less. Researchers believe that this was due to the population reaching the maximum that it could sustain in a given area. It was nature’s way of making sure that survival of the fittest prevailed. It was at that time when it was clearly evident that conservation efforts for the walrus had been a success.
There is still a fairly high mortality rate among the young walruses though. It can be high percentage depending on the location and the environment around it. The walrus can live in the wild from 30 to 40 years. The age can be determined from the dental tissues that remain after a walrus has died.
It is estimated that close to 250,000 of them are distributed throughout the world at this point in time. It is hard to get a good number of them though due to the environment where they live. Aerial observations and counts seem to offer the best way to count them when they are on land.