Walrus calves rescued in Alaska find new homes in B’klyn, Indianapolis

October 11, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Around-the-clock care will continue at Aquarium

Two male walrus calves orphaned off the coast near Barrow, Alaska, will be given new homes at the Indianapolis Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

Struggling to survive in the wild after losing their mothers, the unrelated calves were discovered by local fishermen about a week apart in July. In both cases, each calf was badly dehydrated and in poor health.

Alaska SeaLife Center staff responded to Barrow to assist in stabilizing the calves for transport to Anchorage and then to the Alaska SeaLife Center’s facility in Seward for medical care and rehabilitation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that the walruses, Mitik and Pakak, be sent to the New York Aquarium and the Indianapolis Zoo respectively. Both facilities have personnel at the Alaska SeaLife Center working with the walruses in preparation for the move. They will continue to receive around-the-clock care once they arrive in their new homes.

Mitik, the calf coming to the New York Aquarium, has been experiencing health problems and is receiving veterinary care since he arrived in Seward. His prognosis is good, but he will receive medical support once he arrives in New York.

“Mitik has been showing signs of improvement thanks to the dedication and expertise of the Alaska SeaLife Center team, New York Aquarium staff on-site, and the Indianapolis Zoo staff all working together,” said WCS Vice President and New York Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin.

Both calves are under 24-hour watch and being hand-raised and bottle-fed every four hours.  The calves receive a nutritious walrus formula rich in vitamins and minerals. Both will be bottle fed until they are fully weaned.

New York Aquarium staff is hopeful that Mitik will make his public debut and join the aquarium’s other two walruses in the Sea Cliffs exhibit sometime next year.

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