During our zodiac cruise at Kræmerpynten, I found two Walrus swimming towards us. A quick look learned that it was a mother and calf, something that used to be rare on Spitsbergen. For about thirty years, Walrus were nearly extinct on Spitsbergen due to extensive hunting, and only the last 20 years they have recolonised the archipelago. On Franz Joseph Land, hunting was less excessive, so there the population did persist. 

Walrus calf

After the Walrus got protected, they slowly started to return. First, the males returned and, in the last couple of years, also the females make their way to Spitsbergen. In recent years, we even see more and more calves appear. The first was probably born on Frans Joseph Land, but now there is also reproduction on Spitsbergen, especially in the eastern parts. So I wasn’t surprised to see a mother and calf on the easternmost point on the archipelago, but it’s still great to have them back.


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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