During his first voyage to try to find a northeast passage to India, Jacques Cartier reached the Magdalen Islands and saw a large group of walruses. At the time, sailors called them sea cows.
During this period, the Atlantic walrus was over-hunted by European settlers for their oil and their tusks. They would gradually disappear from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.
The Atlantic walrus is officially declared extinct in the Maritimes due to over-hunting by European settlers.
There are approximately 22,000 walruses in Canada. They live in the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, James Bay and the Labrador coast. Biologists believe that walruses are unlikely to return to the Maritimes as the current population prefers colder climates.