Hopen Island


11:21 AM

1 min read
Hopen Island Blog Image


The first case of a walrus dying from bird flu has been detected on Hopen Island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

About Hopen Island:

  • It is a small, remote island in the far southeast of Svalbard and part of the Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve.
  • It is mostly covered by rocks and continuous permafrost, with a very narrow beach from which the landscape rises sharply.
  • In the north of the island there are steep cliffs with horizontal shelves which are ideal for breeding seabirds, including the globally vulnerable Atlantic puffin.
  • Fauna: There are huge seabird colonies on steep cliffs with Brunich’s Guillemots, Kittywakes, Fulmars etc.
  • The numbers of breeding birds here make Hopen one of the most important seabird islands of the Barents Sea.

Key facts about Walrus

  • It is a pinniped, or fin-footed mammal, and is related to seals and sea lions. Their skin is covered by a thin layer of small coarse hairs.
  • It is easily recognised by its sheer size and magnificent tusks. It is a keystone species in Arctic marine ecosystems.
  • Walruses are terrestrial, marine mammals, meaning they can swim in the ocean and walk on land and sea ice.
  • They typically eat mollusks, but worms, snails, soft shell crabs, shrimp, and sea cucumbers can also be found on their menu.
  • Distribution: Walruses live in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the world near the North Pole. They can be found in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Arctic Ocean.
  • Threats: It is threatened by commercial hunting, but today the biggest danger it faces is climate change.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

Q1: What is Permafrost?

Permafrost is any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight. These permanently frozen grounds are most common in regions with high mountains and in Earth’s higher latitudes—near the North and South Poles.