Photo by @nickcobbing
It’s easy to spot a walrus, but some of the other Arctic species are harder to find, though no less important. The tiny white bird attempting to upstage this walrus and well camouflaged against the white ice, is an ivory gull. The two animals are in stark contrast but they are linked by their dependence on a specific habitat. Both the walrus and ivory gull are ‘ice associated’ meaning they rely to a significant degree on sea ice for their survival. Walrus use sea ice as a platform to feed from, diving into the water to eat clams. Ivory gulls hunt and forage for food across the Arctic Ocean sea ice -often feeding on seal carcass left on the ice by passing polar bears. With the sharp downward trend in summer sea ice cover, it’s likely that these ice associated animals will be impacted by the loss of summer ice. This picture was taken on sea ice north of Svalbard.