August 31, 1996 in Nation/World

Walruses Leap Off Cliff To Their Deaths

Compiled From Wire Services

Nearly 60 male walruses fell off a 200-foot bluff to their deaths on a remote beach in southwestern Alaska earlier this week. It was the third time in three years that a large number of bulls followed one another over the same cliff, federal wildlife managers said.

No one can explain why.

Even local Yup’ik Eskimo walrus hunters are perplexed.

“Before this, we never heard of them falling,” said Isaac Tuday, a walrus hunter and mayor of nearby Togiak, a fishing village of 750 people. “They used to not go up that high. Seems to me that when the moonlight is high, in the fall, that’s the time they start falling.”

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