September 2012 – Indigenous Arctic hunters near Gambell, Alaska reported catching a diseased walrus in May 2012. Joni Ungott, BSSN Community Research Assistant from Gambell, provided this photo of a sick walrus caught by her brother. She described the animal as slow moving and acting sick with skin lesions and they were afraid to eat it. The walrus has played a prominent role in the cultures of Bering Sea communities.
BSSN team members began biannual harvest interviews with hunters and fishermen in eight Bering Sea villages regarding their harvest experiences during the 2012 spring and summer timeframe. The BSSN survey questions address harvest locations, health of species caught, and environmental conditions. At the end of each six-month cycle the BSSN team holds a raffle for all interviewees at a community meeting in each participating village.