Some wild animals need human care and protection, especially little ones with no family to care for them. Now, one baby walrus is getting all the care (and cuddles) he needs after being rescued.
According to a news release from the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska, a one-month-old, walrus calf was discovered by workers on Alaska’s North Slope. It was a highly unusual spot for a walrus, and no one was sure how he arrived so far inland.
Most concerningly, the young walrus was all on his own: walrus calves depend on their mothers for care in their first two years of life, and it was clear the animal would not survive long on his own.
So, Alaska Sea Life, collaborating with Alaska Clean Seas and ConocoPhillips Alaska, arranged to take the young walrus into their care.
Though the ASLC often cares for marine animals like seals and sea lions, walruses are much rarer: this marks the first walrus patient in four years, and only the tenth admitted in the center’s 25-year history; they called it an “exceptional case” and a “rare opportunity for all involved.”
“We are lucky that his first night went well,” ASLC Wildlife Response Curator Jane Belovarac said in the press release. “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.”
After the walrus arrived on August 1, they gave him a medical examination and found that the walrus was suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and a cloudy eye. He also was dehydrated and likely fighting an infection.
He was provided 24-hour care, and ASLC staff worked to emulate the maternal care the walrus would be receiving from his mom, including providing round-the-clock “cuddling” to keep him calm. He has been receiving formula from a bottle.
In an update posted to Facebook, ASLC said that the walrus “continues to eat well and remains alert.” They also said his weight was about 140 pounds.
In another update, they said the walrus’ infection is more extensive than they thought and he has a lot of health conditions to overcome, but they are “providing him with the best care possible” and are “cautiously optimistic” about his status.
The walrus is currently unavailable for viewing, but may be relocated to a public area as his condition improves.
Thank you for rescuing this beautiful walrus — we hope he gets better soon! Please share this news if you love animals! ❤️