Walrus in West and East Greenland

Walrus instrumented with a satellite transmitter to collect information about diving activity Photo: Fernando Ugarte
Walruses on an ice floe in North-East Greenland during aerial survey in 2009. Photo: Lars Witting

Walruses are quite difficult to count. Most of the time they occur in larger groups and they are scattered over large areas that requires intensive flying over their habitat. The walruses will then be either in the water, or lying on ice floes or land. Different correction factors will have to be used dependent on whether the walruses were detected on sea ice, on land or in the water.

At the same time, it is difficult to collect data that can be used for correcting data, because you have to search for the walruses over large and remote areas where they are lying either on land or on ice in order to tag them with satellite transmitters.

West Greenland

In West Greenland walruses are counted during winter, when they are feeding on the banks off West Greenland. Here the animals included in the surveys were detected both on xmlice and in the water. A similar procedure was used in the North Water area, where walruses were counted late in May 2009 and 2010.  

East Greenland

In East Greenland walruses are counted on ice in the Northeast Greenland and at the same time, animals where counted along the coast line. The numbers are corrected for diving animals and for walruses not present at the haul-out during the survey.

Summary of abundance of whales and walrus in Greenland 2005‐2009

Updated 11.10.2015