Walrus (Reaktion Books - Animal)
Combining natural, cultural, and environmental history, Walrus explores the intriguing story of an animal that today is on the front lines of conservation debates. John Miller and Louise Miller describe the problems facing walruses even after the twentieth-century bans on nonindigenous walrus hunting—shrinking pack-ice caused by global warming and the exploitation of Arctic oil and gas resources are destroying the animal’s habitat. Wonderfully illustrated with images of walruses in the wild and from art and popular culture, Walrus offers a refreshing account of these large-flippered mammals while also illustrating the ethical dilemmas they embody, from the intensifying conflict between the developed world and indigenous interests to the impact of global warming on arctic animals.
of 1516 describes the morsus ‘as an elephant-sized animal with two long quadrangular teeth’.9 The illustration is an almost precise reproduction of the elephant minus the trunk, and with tusks again pointing up rather than down. A later edition of the same map produced by Laurent Fries in 1522 poses another elephantine ‘morsus’ on the coast of Greenland, this time even going so far as to add in the trunk. John J. McKay, a scholar of mammoths, suggests the possibility that the illustrator for
Soviet stamp, c. 1970s. Part of One Million Moms’ problem with the ad was that it was not the kind of message that any company should be sending to American children. Their dismay may in part be connected to the status of walruses as much-loved animals in children’s literature and film since the mid-twentieth century. Wrigley, then, were debasing an icon of children’s culture. Just like the marketing walrus, the children’s TV walrus has had many incarnations. In 1951 Alice in Wonderland got the
light of recovering walrus populations fell upon deaf ears and control quickly returned to a federal level. To some, the idea of quotas seemed like a direct attack on a traditional way of life. One hunter complained to legislators that ‘You don’t know what it is to be an Eskimo. Out here hunting is our way of life. Carving ivory is our livelihood. We don’t want welfare supporting us and we don’t want to be forced from the villages.’2 Moreover the very idea of ‘subsistence’, with its connotations
record. Greenpeace estimate that over 5 million tonnes of oil is spilled there every year, seven times the amount leaked from the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.20 Despite its apparently pristine beauty, the Arctic is already highly polluted: not by local industries, but by those thousands of miles to the south. As a result of atmospheric and ocean currents, chemicals never used in the Arctic are swept northwards, accumulating in the sea and the bodies of
Moral Limits of Markets (London, 2012), p. 84. 9 Joseph F. Bernard, ‘Walrus Protection in Alaska’, Journal of Mammalogy, VI/2 (May 1925), pp. 100–102. 10 Lars Witting and Erik W. Born, ‘An Assessment of Greenland Walrus Populations’, in ICES Journal of Marine Science, 62 (online, 2005); Marine Mammal Commission Annual Report to Congress 2009 (Bethesda, MD, 2010), p. 65. 11 Igor Krupnik and G. Carleton Ray, ‘Pacific Walruses, Indigenous Hunters, and Climate Change: Bridging Scientific and