Seward, AK – A walrus calf, rescued miles inland from the Beaufort Sea, is receiving round-the-clock “cuddle care” from staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. According to a release from the agency, the calf was inexplicably orphaned. Workers on Alaska’s North Slope spotted the calf, who was approximately four miles from the sea.
Observers reported a notable “walrus trail” on the tundra close to a road where he was discovered, although it is unknown how he arrived inland. Walrus calves depend on maternal care for their first two years of life, and with no adults in the vicinity, it was apparent that the wayward calf would not survive long without intervention.
The calf arrived at the SeaLife center on August 1 and his care providers are doing their utmost to provide him with the care needed by these highly social mammals:
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.
According to the SeaLife Center, this is the first walrus calf patient they have had in four years. ASLC Wildlife Response Curator Jane Belovarac said:
“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.”