Disaster declared for subsistence walrus hunt on St. Lawrence Island | Alaska Dispatch
Last month, St. Lawrence Island communities of Gambell and Savoonga found themselves looking for help. The annual walrus hunt was a disaster. Unusually wet and cold weather, coupled with sea ice that packed in so tightly around the island it kept hunters from getting to the giant marine mammals that serve as both the literal and economic lifeblood of the communities. Only 340 walruses were harvested between the two communities this year, during a season that runs roughly from November to May. This year's haul amounted to a paltry 36 percent of the average yearly harvest over the past 10 years, about 1,200 animals.