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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
In pictures: Tagging walruses

A walrus (Image: BBC)

Scientists have attached satellite tags to eight walruses in west Greenland to find out where they are migrating over the summer months.

Keeping watch for walruses (Image: BBC)

The walruses were spotted from a 70-tonne trawler by field leader Mikkel Villum Jensen and the boat's crew. The trick was to find a brown blob on the white, ice-covered sea.

A walrus resting on the ice (Image: BBC)

At this time of year, walruses are lazing about on the ice soaking up vitamin D from the Sun, resting after they have fed on clams and other molluscs from the seabed.

Researchers in a boat

Almost all of the tags were deployed from a skiff that made much less noise than the trawler as it approached the creatures.

An adult walrus with its pup (image: BBC)

Field leader Mikkel Villum Jensen said that the easiest way to attach the tags to the walruses was if they were sitting on the ice, like this one with its infant.

Walruses in the water (Image: BBC)

But most of the time, even when in the smaller boat, the walruses slipped into the water at the slightest sound, making attaching the tags much more difficult.

Skipper Ole with a harpoon (Image: BBC)

The tags were deployed with three instruments: a crossbow, a CO2-powered gun, and a harpoon that the skipper had made.

A bull walrus (Image: BBC)

Trying to deploy the sat tags in -10 to -25C (14 to -13F) conditions with strong winds and snow was difficult. Some of the walruses, such as this old bull, got away without a tag.

A tagged walrus (Image: BBC)

But eight other walruses were tagged, and now scientists will be able to find out exactly where they spend the summer months.

Field leader Mikkel Villum Jensen (Image: BBC)

Mr Villum Jensen said he was extremely pleased: "The conditions have been harsher than we had anticipated and we lost two of the tags but overall I'm very happy."






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