SEWARD, Alaska (WJW) – Staff members at the Alaska SeaLife Center have been busy the past week giving a Pacific walrus calf constant cuddles after he was recently rescued and brought to their facility.
According to the Alaska SeaLife Center, the lost calf was spotted alone on Alaska’s North Slope, roughly four miles inland from the Beaufort Sea.
Experts say walruses depend on their mothers during the first two years of life, so crews knew they had to step in to help.
The calf was flown to the Seward Airport, where Alaska SeaLife Center staff met him for the first time on Aug. 1.
Back at their facility, veterinarians learned that the month-old calf was malnourished, dehydrated and had a cloudy eye.
The calf is now getting 24-hour care, which officials say is more than most marine mammals need.
“Walruses are highly tactile and social animals, receiving near-constant care from their mothers during the first two years of life,” the Alaska SeaLife Center said. “To emulate this maternal closeness, round-the-clock ‘cuddling’ is being provided to ensure the calf remains calm and develops in a healthy manner.”
In the video above, you can see staff members bottle-feeding and caring for the nearly 200-pound baby.
This is the first walrus patient the center has had in four years.
Anyone who sees a stranded or hurt marine animal in Alaska should call the 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-774-SEAL(7325).