Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why the Bering Strait Is Under Siege

NOAA ship Fairweather is detecting navigational dangers in critical Arctic waterways.

  

People living in Savoonga, Alaska, like to call their village the "Walrus Capital of the World." The village sits at the mouth of the Bering Strait, and roughly 80 percent of all North Pacific walruses migrate through those narrow waters every year. They are joined by hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals and an estimated 12 million seabirds. These animals gather in the Bering Strait for one of the largest wildlife migrations in the world.

Arctic coastlines have been compared to the Serengeti because of their abundant wildlife corridors, but what many people don't realize is that deep beneath the water's surface, another vast migration unfolds every spring and fall. The Bering Strait becomes the Serengeti of the oceans during those seasons, and the abundance of animal life has fed Yup'ik people and cultural traditions for millennia.

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