An abandoned young walrus is getting used to his new home at an Alaska rehab facility. He was first seen without his mother about a month ago near the Red Dog Mine port facility south of Kivalina, Alaska.
When the walrus, named Chukchi, was initially spotted, he was exhausted and lethargic. He eluded several capture attempts until last Thursday.
Chukchi was flown to Kotzebue and Anchorage on chartered cargo planes, and then on to Seward where he is now getting used to his new home, the Alaska SeaLife Center.
When this 400 pound walrus was first spotted, his mother was nowhere to be found. Walrus can remain dependent on their mothers for more than two years. The SeaLife Center was called to assist with Chukchi.
“U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists tell us that harvested animals of this age normally have only their mother’s milk for stomach contents,” said Tim Lebling, stranding coordinator at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
Lebling determined Chukchi was born last year due to his size and budding tasks. Staff at the center decided that the walrus needed to be captured and nursed back to health.
When Alaska SeaLife Center staff first tried to approach the walrus in early September, Chukchi would jump into the water and swim away, only to haul out again when they retreated.
The staff simply had to wait and observe to capture the orphaned walrus. Several attempts were thwarted by stormy weather and Chukchi’s mobility.
Visitors to the Alaska SeaLife Center can observe Chukchi on a remote monitor.
Source: Associated Press