Walrus calf at the Alaska SeaLife Center gets an Inupiaq name

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SEWARD (KTUU) - The Alaska SeaLife Center has announced on Twitter that their walrus has been named Aku, an Inupiaq word meaning the stern of a boat.


Brett Long, the Husbandry Director of the SeaLife Center, says the name was decided by a vote of staff members.

Long says they are "very pleased with the progress of this animal."

The walrus has gained around 60 pounds since coming to the SeaLife Center in June, despite only consuming a specially made milk formula and supplements.

Long says this growth is right on average, he says he would expect to see a walrus calf gain around "a pound to a pound and half a day."

Although Aku is growing, Long says he is still under 24-hour care in an outdoor enclosure.

Aku was found in June by gold miners off the coast of Nome on board a gold mining dredge. Around two-weeks old at the time, Aku was described as severely dehydrated and suffering from skin lesions.

He was then flown to Anchorage and then transported to Seward where he has been cared for by the staff at the SeaLife Center.

Long confirmed today that the SeaLife Center is actively looking for other institutions in the United States to take Aku as they don't have the facilities to look after a fully-grown walrus.

Long says there are five facilities in the Lower-48 that could house Aku but where he ends up will depend on which facility best suits his needs.

If you'd like to come and see Aku, Long says you should come down soon as he could be shipped out as soon as October.