Like many sea mammals, baby walruses have a deep tactile connection with their moms who offer them both nourshiment and protection during the early years of their lives. But every once in a while, something goes wrong, and the little ones become separated from their natural mothers.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is currently rehabilitating one such baby, a male Pacific walrus calf that was stranded near Barrow last month. The calf, estimated at four to six weeks old when found, was spotted by local fishermen who came across the calf in North Salt Lagoon. A large group of walruses were sighted passing Barrow on floating ice a few days earlier and the calf is presumed to have been separated from this group.
After a period of observation and approval from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), staff of the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management facilitated the rescue. Two Center staff traveled to Barrow to evaluate the animal, already under the watchful eye of a local veterinarian. Air transportation from Barrow to Anchorage for the 200 pound animal was provided by Northern Air Cargo (NAC) before transferring the walrus to a specially-equipped truck for the 125 mile trip to Seward where rehabiliation will take place. The video below offers a rare look at the emotional needs of this exquisite young walrus. There is every expectation that he will grow up strong and return to his home waters.
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