SeaLife Center I.Sea.U Welcomes Walrus Calf

The newest animal care unit is a stricter quarantine than existing facilities to help rescued marine mammals recover and interact with caregivers.

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by Megan Mazurek

A 275-pound walrus is stable after arriving at the SeaLife Center from Barrow on July 22nd.

The male walrus calf was the first of three calves rescued; one of which has died and another which remains in critical condition. ASLF staff are caring for the calf.

Veterinarians say it is difficult stabilizing a young marine calf because many times it does not have a strong enough immune system aided by its mother's milk to survive.

The healthy calf has been placed in the I.Sea.U critical care unit. It's an area where staff can maintain a stricter quarantine to help it recover and interact with caregivers.

According to a press release, the heightened concern for strict quarantine followed the designation of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) in 2011. Residents were finding ringed and bearded seals with skin legions, hair loss, and appeared lethargic. Initially, the animals were tested for radiation poisoning just in case toxins from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant had made it to Alaska's waters. Those tests came back negative.

The SeaLife Center encourages residents to call it's hotline 1-888-774-SEAL (7325) to report stranded marine mammals or birds.

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