Point Lay Walrus Protection

Point Lay is an important haulout for walrus used primarily by adult females and young animals. While on shore the animals are skittish and stampede to the water in response to unusual sights, sounds and odors. The young animals are vulnerable to being trampled in the process.

The people of Point Lay have seen dead walrus on shore after observing plane and boat activities in the area. The Native Village of Point Lay is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to minimize potential disturbance events by requesting those who must travel by plane or boat follow guidance developed by the USFWS to avoid disturbing the animals on the island or in the sea.

The USFWS has also coordinated with the community to notify the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), air carriers and shipping companies when the walruses are there and to recommend they follow USFWS guidelines if they travel in the area. The FAA and the USCG issue these guidelines to pilots and mariners.

The USFWS shared a video describing the issue from a local perspective and a walrus photo archive.

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