A walrus calf in Alaska has been given a second chance at life, and he’s been ordered 24/7 cuddles!
According to an August 3 press release from the Alaska SeaLife Center, the one month old Pacific walrus calf was admitted on August 1 after being spotted by workers on Alaska’s North Slope, “about four miles inland from the Beaufort Sea — a highly unusual location for Pacific walrus.”
Since walrus calves depend on maternal care for their first two years of life, it was unlikely that the young walrus would survive long without intervention.
It’s the first time a walrus has been admitted to the center in four years and one of just 10 walruses ever admitted to the center in its 25-year history.
Rescue teams got to work assessing the calf, who was found to be suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and a cloudy eye.
How about having an orphaned baby walrus snuggle up in your lap? That's one of the perks of the job for wildlife rescue…
According to the press release, ASLC staff initiated a 24-hour care regimen that involves regular cuddles. They said, “Walruses are highly tactile and social animals, receiving near-constant care from their mothers during the first two years of life. To emulate this maternal closeness, round-the-clock ‘cuddling’ is being provided to ensure the calf remains calm and develops in a healthy manner. Calves tend to habituate quickly to human care, and staff report that he is already eating formula from a bottle.”
ASLC Wildlife Response Curator Jane Belovarac said, “We are lucky that his first night went well. It isn’t often that we’re able to admit a walrus calf, but every time we do, we learn more about the species and how to care for them.”
On August 5, the center shared an update and said: “Our team was able to get an official weight on the walrus calf patient, originally estimated to be 200 pounds. He is currently weighing in at 64 kgs, or close to 140 pounds. Wildlife Response staff, working round-the-clock shifts at the ASLC, report that he continues to eat well and remains alert.”
❗Walrus Calf Patient Update❗Our team was able to get an official weight on the walrus calf patient, originally…
On August 8, they added: “Our walrus calf patient continues to get 24/7 round-the-clock care from ASLC animal care and veterinary teams. Staff report that he seems to be doing slightly better today, but he’s still dealing with major issues. He’s been resting a lot over the past three days, and we’re hoping for the best!”
On August 10, they shared that the walrus calf “continues to have issues with maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients.” But they’re not giving up on him anytime soon!
❗️Walrus Patient Update❗️Yesterday, our team reported that the young calf continues to have issues with maldigestion…
You can see more of the rescue and the calf’s story in the video below:
A 200-pound walrus calf found alone on Alaska’s North Slope is being bottle fed and receiving round-the-clock “cuddling” from doting animal welfare workers who are trying to keep the 1-month-old baby alive.Details: https://808ne.ws/44YdMIW 📹: Alaska SeaLife Center via AP
Posted by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday, August 4, 2023
To receive updates on how the calf is doing, you can follow the Alaska SeaLife Center on Facebook here.