Usually in October, walruses chill out on sea ice. This year, however, climate change has delayed the plans of 35,000 walruses who are stranded on an Alaskan shore.
The walruses came ashore just north of Point Lay, Alaska, because warming ocean temperatures have melted much of the sea ice they would normally rest on.
Scientists spotted the herd on Sept. 25 while conducting an aerial survey. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested on Thursday that airplanes and helicopters avoid the mass of animals, NBCNews reported. Officials are concerned that engine noise could cause a stampede, during which walruses, in particular, calves, could be crushed and killed.
While flights haven’t been rerouted, planes have been advised to stay 2,000 feet above and half a mile away from the animals. Helicopters have been asked to stay 3,000 feet above and one mile away.