Alaska wildlife center bottle-fed and cuddled a 200-pound abandoned walrus calf in its fight to survive

A 200-pound, month-old walrus calf is expected to remain under 24-hour care for several weeks after being rescued from Alaska's North Slope, several miles inland from the Beaufort Sea.

Animal welfare workers are bottle-feeding and “cuddling” a 200-pound walrus calves found miles from the sea on Alaska’s North Slope. They’re trying to save the baby, weighing one month old.

The male Pacific Walrus, who has not yet been named, was discovered on Monday. He was flown from the North Slope, where he lived, to Seward in Alaska, the home of the Alaska SeaLife Center, at least 700 miles away. The staff at the nonprofit research facility, as well as the public aquarium, are caring for this giant, brown baby with wrinkled skin. It was dehydrated and may have been fighting an infection.

The center stated that the walrus receives “round-the-clock ‘cuddling,'” in an attempt to mimic the constant care a calf gets from its mother. He is also fed every three hour to aid his development. The center described the cuddling by trained staff as giving the walrus the option of having a warm body for him to lean against. He has taken advantage of this almost constantly.



WALRUS SPEAKS UP AS HE ENJOYS A DIP IN POOL

Workers in Alaska’s far north discovered the calf about 4 miles from the Beaufort Sea. Near the road where the walrus calf was discovered, oil field workers found a “walrus track” or trail on the tundra. The center stated that it is unclear exactly how he arrived.

(Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center, via AP).

No adults were visible nearby. This raised concern about the infant’s survival without assistance.



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According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Pacific Walrus range includes the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas. However, walruses can be seen occasionally in other areas such as the Beaufort Sea towards the northeast.

The center reported that the walrus, one of only 10 animals the center has taken care of in its 25 years history, is already drinking formula from a bottle. The center stated that the calf will likely be in 24-hour care for several weeks. This timeline will depend on its progress, appetite, and medical condition.



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ConocoPhillips Alaska offered to fly the calves to Seward on a company aircraft.

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