Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Walruses have been exploited by humans for many millenia. Native peoples have harvested them for their meat, skin (which they used for shelters and kayak coverings), and ivory for tools, weapons, and arts. In the early 10th century, Viking traders began taking large numbers, and this European decimation of walruses continued until the early 20th century. Walruses are now managed by governments but continue to be killed. Northern cultures are allowed to hunt walruses for subsistence living, but poachers continue to take walruses illegally, mostly for their ivory tusks (Jefferson et al. 1993).