Pacific walrus coastal haulout database, 1852-2016— Background report

Open-File Report 2016-1108
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Chukot-TINRO and Institute of Biological Problems of the North Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
By: , and 



Walruses are large benthic predators that rest out of water between foraging bouts. Coastal “haulouts” (places where walruses rest) are formed by adult males in summer and sometimes by females and young when sea ice is absent, and are often used repeatedly across seasons and years. Understanding the geography and historical use of haulouts provides a context for conservation efforts. We summarize information on Pacific walrus haulouts from available reports (n =151), interviews with coastal residents and aviators, and personal observations of the authors. We provide this in the form of a georeferenced database that can be queried and displayed with standard geographic information system and database management software. The database contains 150 records of Pacific walrus haulouts, with a summary of basic characteristics on maximum haulout aggregation size, age-sex composition, season of use, and decade of most recent use. Citations to reports are provided in the appendix and as a bibliographic database. Haulouts were distributed across the coasts of the Pacific walrus range; however, the largest (maximum >10,000 walruses) of the haulouts reported in the recent 4 decades (n=19) were concentrated on the Russian shores in regions near the Bering Strait and northward into the western Chukchi Sea (n=17). Haulouts of adult female and young walruses primarily occurred in the Bering Strait region and areas northward, with others occurring in the central Bering Sea, Gulf of Anadyr, and Saint Lawrence Island regions. The Gulf of Anadyr was the only region to contain female and young walrus haulouts, which formed after the northward spring migration and prior to autumn ice formation.

Suggested Citation

Fischbach, A.S., Kochnev, A.A., Garlich-Miller, J.L., and Jay, C.V., 2016, Pacific walrus coastal haulout database, 1852–2016—Background report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1108, 27 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments 
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
  • Appendix A. Reports Cited in the Pacific Walrus Coastal Haulout Database, 1852–2016
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Pacific walrus coastal haulout database, 1852-2016— Background report
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2016-1108
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161108
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description Report: iv, 27 p.; Data Release
Country Russia, United States
State Alaska
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details