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Published on Aug 30, 2012
The two walrus were both found stranded near Barrow in July. They were rescued one week apart, arriving in Seward on July 22 and July 30. After admission to the Center, the calves were initially housed separately. Last week, Center veterinarian Dr. Carrie Goertz determined that the animals could be housed together, explaining, "In the previous week, the younger calf made huge strides towards overcoming various complications and began to suckle from a bottle. Walrus are very social animals, and joint housing will enable the walrus to learn to socialize together and provide companionship to each other."
Center staff have nicknamed the animals "Pakak" and "Mitik." Pakak, the larger walrus who was first to arrive, is approximately 315 pounds at about 12 weeks of age. "Pakak" means "one that gets into everything" in Inupiaq and was initially suggested because fishermen first found him tugging on their fishing nets. Caregivers report that the name is indeed fitting. Mitik, the smaller and younger walrus, is approximately 175 pounds at about 9 weeks of age. The name "Mitik" was suggested by the daughter of one of the rescuers who helped to care for the calf in Barrow immediately following his rescue.