Alaska Science Center
Decisions Informed by the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative
Upcoming Pacific Walrus Endangered Species Listing Act Decision by the USFWS
In 2011, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that listing of the Pacific walrus as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act was warranted but precluded by higher priorities. USFWS is under a court order to make a decision on walrus by 2017. In the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative, the USGS is undertaking a suite of studies to refine forecasts of future status of the Pacific walrus population. These studies include tracking studies to understand walrus movements and activity budgets under differing ice conditions; development of a population model and collection of current data on age structure to inform an assessment of trend; and development of an energetic model to link changes in sea ice with changes in activity and ultimately population dynamics.