Webcam of Walruses Lolling Around on an Alaskan Island Is Back

Pacific Walruses
Pacific walruses are truly enormous. Males can grow to 12 feet in length and weigh as much as 2 tons. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

If you've been feeling lately as if something is missing from your life, we have good news.

The walrus cam is back.

After a hiatus of nearly a decade, the popular live feed of massive male Pacific walruses flopping around on the beach of a remote Alaskan island rebooted this month. The webcam is now funded and hosted by, a philanthropic organization that donated to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, allowing the state to put two paid staff members on Round Island to welcome the few visitors who venture to the spit of land 400 miles southwest of Anchorage each year. The staffers also keep aircraft and passing boats from spooking the walruses and "sparking a stampede," The Associated Press reports.

Pacific walruses are truly enormous. The males, also called bulls, can grow to be 12-foot-long, 2-ton hulking masses of blubber. Females are more delicate; weighing in around 1 ton. Both male and female walruses grow the two distinctive ivory tusks (which are really their upper canine teeth) throughout their life.

They live out on the Bering and Chukchi seas, where they "haul out" on sea ice to the islands off the coasts of Alaska and Russia, according to the Department of Fish and Game. But as the climate warms and sea ice declines, Pacific walruses grow more and more habitat-challenged.

Meanwhile, ocean warming and acidification is damaging the walruses' food supply. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that these threats warranted listing the Pacific walrus as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but a long list of other species prioritized for inclusion has kept the walrus on the "candidate" list since then.

The AP notes that the walrus live feed will be shut off for one week in the fall (as it was in 2005, when the live feed was last active) while Alaska Natives conduct a legal subsistence walrus hunt on the island.