Conservation Challenges

The Secret Lives of Walruses

Podcast Guest: Dr. Kit Kovacs

Ever wondered how a serendipitous encounter can shape an entire career? Join us on the Protect Species Podcast as we chat with Dr. Kit Kovacs, a distinguished marine mammal researcher, who recounts her enchanting journey from an undergraduate student to a leading expert at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Kit shares her first magical field season in Canada, where she fell in love with walruses and embarked on a lifelong mission to understand these magnificent creatures.

Discover the cutting-edge techniques and innovations that make walrus research possible as Kit reveals the complexities of tagging and monitoring these enormous animals. From the meticulous process of intubating and tracking oxygen levels to overcoming logistical challenges with Russian colleagues, Kit highlights the fascinating advancements and adaptations that enable researchers to gather critical data on walrus migration and behavior.

We also tackle the pressing conservation issues walruses face today, delving into the effects of climate change and the importance of sustainable hunting practices. Kit sheds light on the delicate balance between sea ice dependency and the species’ adaptability to coming ashore. Plus, Kit shares heartwarming stories of close encounters with curious walruses.

Links:
The University Center in Svalbard
Norwegian Polar Institute
Dr. Kit Kovacs Google Scholar
IUCN SSC Marine Conservation Committee

Protect Species Podcast

This podcast is a production of the Global Center for Species Survival, which is a partnership between the Indianapolis Zoo and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC). We record all episodes at the Indianapolis Zoo in the Bedel Financial Media Studio, made possible by a generous gift from Elaine and Eric Bedel.