Walrus Hunting and Exploitation
While a walrus in the wild can live a very long life, too many of them have been cut short due to the issues of hunting and being exploited. For centuries the people of the Arctic regions have hunted them for food. The meat of the walrus is one of their main food sources. It is believed that they also ate the flippers and considered them to be a delicacy. They didn’t just take the meat though and leave the rest to rot. In fact, they were quite advanced in their methods for using what they could from the walrus to their own benefit.
They also use other parts of the body. For example they use the skin, fat, tusks, and bones. The tusks and bones of the walrus where used for them to make tools out of as well as cooking utensils. Sometimes they were also used to make a variety of craft items. The oil offered them a way to cook the food as well as to give them light. The skin of a walrus served many purposes. They included making rope, making shelter, and for warmth.
Many people around the world have also hunted the walrus in order to make money. There has always been a huge demand for the ivory that is found in their tusks. They also have been killed for their blubber because it can be made to make oil. While that is used less and less today, the ivory is still big money. Since it is illegal, the price that is earned for walrus tusks is more than it ever has been. This is enough of a motivation for many to take the risk of getting caught.
The biggest areas of walrus hunting today include Russia, Alaska, and Greenland. Even with many conservation groups putting heat on these governments, such events continue to take place. While the governments of these locations due have some guidelines in place, they are very loose. There isn’t much done for those that kill more than the limit because such laws really aren’t enforced.
While we can’t stop all of the hunting and exploitation of the walrus, we can do our very best. Even though it still takes place it is much less than it was several decades ago. With the education about the need to keep this population alive, more people are also taking the view that they don’t want to be involved in destroying them. For example the fact that real ivory doesn’t have to be used for many things anymore due to man made alternatives does reduce the need to kill them.
In the past some felt it would be better to only remove the tusks from the walruses. However, they need them to survive socially in the herd as well as to pull themselves up on the ice. They will die a slow death without them which is considered to be very cruel. Luckily the market for the ivory has dwindled and so that has allowed more of them to survive.
It is important to note that it is legal for Native Americans in some locations to hunt the walrus for their own needs. The logic is that their survival in such remote areas is dependent upon a food source. They get the meat they need to live on from the walrus. They also use the rest of the body for many creative things they also need for their survival. They aren’t out there needlessly killing them for sport. While they number of these people have increased over the decades, this type of hunting isn’t considered to be a threat to the overall population of these animals.