Fishermen Find Lost Baby Walrus, Now Safe at SeaLife Center
Many sea animals are suffering now due to problems caused by extreme weather conditions due to global warming. One of those animals is the Pacific Walrus.
The Pacific Walrus is a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection, mainly due to the threat that loss of sea ice could have on walrus population numbers. Pacific Walrus use floating sea ice to give birth, nurse calves, avoid predators, and as a platform for feeding.
A rescue took place this past Saturday, when local fisherman spotted an orphan Pacific Walrus calf on floating ice near Barrow, Alaska. After observing the baby for awhile from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a rescue was approved. Alaska SeaLife Center staff and a local veterinarian prepared the 200lb. baby for airlift to Anchorage and then transport by modified truck to ASLC in Seward.
Although abandoned or lost, the calf appears to still be in good condition. There have been a few health concerns though and veterinarians are performing additional diagnostic testing to better understand his condition. The calf is feeding readily from a bottle, eating every three hours around the clock, and consuming nearly 1,400 calories at each feed. He is also actively seeking attention from care-givers, and cries when left alone.
The walrus is an incredibly tactile and social animal. The calves typically spend about two years with their mothers, so humans have to step in to provide that substitute care and companionship. Walrus calves almost immediately habituate to human care and therefore are not good candidates for release following rehabilitation.
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