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)

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