Baby Walrus. Cute. Fat. Available.

All orphans are not created equally.

pakak-Mitik

Pakak and Mitik

There are kittens aplenty to be adopted. Puppies. But walrus?

While in Alaska last month I got to visit the Sea Life Center in Seward. It was early Sunday morning, the weather blustery, the parking lot empty. In fact I worried for a bit that I’d misread the opening hours, but a lonely yawning fellow took my ticket.

“I’m the first it looks like.”

“Don’t worry, a cruise ship docks in ninety minutes, so you’ll have plenty of company.”

I resolved to look fast. Ecology of the oceans. Check. Glacial history. Check. Earthquake. Check. Videos about changing chemistry of the ocean.

But I slowed down a lot at the animals. The sea lions, the birds. Tanks with the microscopes showing the tiniest plankton. Trays with “sunflower” sea stars…more arms than I’d ever seen.

But the Walrus were stars of the show. Two of them, Pakak and Mitik, had been orphaned and rescued in July. They were big blubbery cuties that got bottles every four hours—huge tubs of “Walrus Formula” were stacked nearby.

“Will they be released to the wild?” asked the second visitor.

“No. They are with people 24/7, they are far too socialized to people.”

Now, though, Mitik has a home. It’s just announced he’s going to the New York Aquarium, only one of seven US institutions with walrus. Walrus are very sociable creatures and since the male in New York is quite old, there is concern that the female not be alone. Pakak will arrive at the Indianapolis Zoo on Thursday.

And how does a walrus travel?

Accompanied by a handler and vet, he’s going by via Fedex.

Because he absolutely positively has to get there.

About Karen Ray

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