03/28/2008 02:43 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Warming Arctic Separating Walrus Young From Their Mothers...

The rapid melting of Arctic sea ice appears to be separating walrus young from their mothers, leaving them likely to die at sea, a team of researchers said.

During a two-month cruise off northern Alaska in 2004, a Coast Guard icebreaker came across nine lone walrus calves swimming in the deep waters -- what the scientists called a highly unusual sighting. They report in the journal Aquatic Mammals that the pups most likely fell into the sea when a shelf of sea ice that they lived on with their mothers collapsed because of an influx of unusually warm water.

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