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Walrus Islands

 

Walrus Islands

Entrance to Round Island, Alaska
coast looking Northwest - Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary, Round Island, Alaska
Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) on Round Island, Alaska

The Walrus Islands (Russian: Моржовые острова) are a group of craggy coastal islands in the Bering Sea, close to the northern shores of Bristol Bay, Alaska at the entrance to Togiak Bay. They are located 18 km to the east of Hagemeister Island.

The Walrus Islands consist of a small group of islands and rocky islets extending to the southeast. The main islands are: Summit Island (close to the coast), High Island, Crooked Island, Black Rock Island and Round Island (not to be confused with Round Island (Aleutian Islands)). The longest island is Crooked Island with a length of 10 km from north to south. The highest point is 69 m. Administratively these islands belong to the Dillingham Census Area, Alaska.

This island group was first explored by Captain James Cook in 1785. The Russian name "Morzh", meaning "walrus", was first used by Lt. Sarichev (1826, map 3), IRN (Imperial Russian Navy). Captain Tebenkov applied the name "Ostrova Morzhovyye" ("Walrus Islands") to the whole group of islands east of Hagemeister Island (1852, map 4), IRN. Captain Tebenkov also identified Walrus Island with the "Ound Island" of Capt. Cook (1785, v. 28 p. 431), RN.

The Walrus Islands earned their name because of the big concentration of walruses in the adjacent waters of these islands every summer, the largest concentration being in Round Island. Nowadays this island group forms the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary and a permit is required to visit Round Island.

The Walrus Islands should not be confused with Walrus Island located in the southeastern shores of the Bristol Bay or with tiny Walrus Island located in the Pribilof group.


References

  • USGS-GNIS
  • Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary
  • Captain Mikhail Dmitrievich Tebenkov


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