Odobenus rosmarus (Walrus)

Odobenus rosmarus (Walrus)

The most iconic moustache in the animal kingdom belongs to the one and only walrus. A large flippered marine mammal, that grows to an impressive size: Adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 2,000 kg, exceeded in size only by elephant seals.

Walruses live mostly in shallow waters above the continental shelves, spending significant amounts of their lives on the sea ice looking for benthic bivalve mollusks to eat. They are relatively long-lived, reaching an age of 30 years, and are highly social animals. They are considered to be a keystone species in the Arctic marine regions.

The walrus has played a prominent role in the cultures of many indigenous Arctic people, who have hunted the walrus for its meat, fat, skin, tusks, and bone. During the 19th century and the early 20th century, walruses were widely hunted and killed for their blubber, walrus ivory, hide, and meat. The population of walruses dropped rapidly all around the Arctic region. Their population has rebounded since then, but they are currently IUCN listed as Vulnerable.