Alaskan baby walrus seeks bukkit in New York

Mitik, a 234-pound, 15-week-old, rescued baby walrus, will travel from his former home in Alaska to New York City this week in a jumbo-size crate aboard a FedEx cargo jet, accompanied by a veterinarian and a handler.

That's him in the photo above. Like many refugees from the West Coast, he's en route to a new home in Brooklyn, and he's packing a mustache. From the New York Times:

“If he’s calm and comfortable, no worries,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, director of the New York Aquarium, which will receive the walrus calf, named Mitik, on Thursday. “But his needs and comfort come first. So he may very well travel with his head in our keeper’s lap.”

The video above is from the Alaska Sea Life Center, which cared for Mitik and another baby walrus who were both found stranded near Barrow, Alaska in July 2012. Center staff 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.

(via Michael Roston; photo courtesy Alaska Sea Life Center; lol-ification ours)


  1. I’m glad they resisted the urge to name that little fella’ Ackbar, despite that being the first thing that came to my mind…

  2. Geez. They didn’t even leave the Stranded Marine Animal Hotline up long enough for me to put it in my phone.

    1. Does that zoo have more room in it’s Walrus area?
      Does that zoo have a population that needs a walrus of that sex to maintain a natural social group?
      Does that zoo have an experienced foster-mother walrus or other walrus fostering plan?
      Does that zoo have a breeding program and need more genetic diversity?

      1. Maybe, but you’d think they would use domesticated zoo bred Walrus for that.
        I was hoping they’d been rescued with a view to freeing them again when they were grown.

        1. Only if you can. There’s no use releasing them if the result of being raised by a human leaves them without the survival skills they need to live in the wild – that just is a cruel way of killing them.

          And BTW: Zoo animals are not domesticated. Many aren’t even tamed, so watch your fingers.

          EDIT: Release is GOOD! It’s just it’s not always that simple.

          1.  Of course this is true. I’d hope they don’t have too much fun giving them too many bukkits and cuddly monkeys and general nannying about, and instead give them a giant ice cube to live on with live food and an adventure fun slide.

    2. Instead of bitching about people who have dedicated their lives to helping these animals. Why don’t you get off the internet and do something? Its not exactly The Cove.

  3. I never imagined in my life I would say this but: Damn those walruses are CUTE! Good to see them being cared for. 

  4. I met these babies when they were picked up in Barrow!  Evidently they need social contact, so the Barrow vet staff, and I imagine staff at the Sealife Center, were tasked with cuddling them.

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