ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - SeaWorld Orlando reports that late last week, two baby walruses met for the first time and things went very well.
The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Care Team say they introduced Aku, a rescued walrus calf from Alaska, to Ginger, a walrus calf born at the park.
The two reportedly began inspecting one another curiously. After their first bottle feeding together, Aku and Ginger were following each other around the habitat and playing.
The park says that Ginger was born at SeaWorld Orlando on June 3rd to Kaboodle, a 14-year-old female walrus. This is the first walrus calf to be born at the park.
Aku was rescued and rehabilitated by the Alaska Sea Life Center (ASLC) in June after being found abandoned on a gold mining dredge off the Alaska coast of Nome, says SeaWorld Orlando. He was estimated to be two-weeks-old at the time of his rescue and therefore was deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). So, he was taken to SeaWorld Orlando to be a companion for Ginger.
SeaWorld Orlando says that the introduction of these two walrus calves is an important milestone. The goal for Aku and Ginger is to create a social bond and develop companionship between the two animals for years to come.
The park believes that their walrus program plays an important role in educating the public about these animals. Walruses are not yet a threatened species, but the species does face growing threats in the wild, including the significant loss of sea ice.
SeaWorld Orlando, with the permission of the USFWS, has raised 10 orphaned walrus calves over the last 50 years, including Ginger's father, Garfield. The SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has provided research assistance on the Pacific walrus and the impact of dwindling floating sea ice.
The park hopes that Ginger and Aku will inspire park guests to learn more about these incredible animals and the plight of walruses in the wild.
Guests who are visiting SeaWorld can spot Ginger and Aku on the Walrus cam inside the Wild Arctic habitat.