Walrus calf gaining strength at the Sealife Center

Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2003

SEWARD (AP) A walrus calf found abandoned and injured on a Barrow beach is being nursed back to health at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward.

The infant male walrus was found July 6, with puncture wounds and abrasions, perhaps by being picked on by dogs and eagles. And he was about 25 percent underweight.

Walruses nurse from their mothers for up to two years. The walrus will grow to about 2,000 pounds. But he will never be released into the wild because he will not have learned the skills to survive in the wild, said Natalie Noll, a rehabilitation veterinarian.

In the meantime, he's 115 pounds and being fed a liter of milk substitute five times a day through a tube down his gullet. He'll get a bottle eventually.

The walrus is expected to stay at the center several months, and once healthy he'll go to a facility like SeaWorld.

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