Indianapolis Zoo to add baby walrus


An orphaned male Pacific walrus calf found off the northern coast of Alaska will soon call the Indianapolis Zoo home. Pakak is scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis later this week, and if all goes well with the acclimation, he could be ready for the public to see him sometime later this year.

The name Pakak means "one that gets into everything" in the northern Alaskan dialect of Inupiaq.

It is believed the calf was separated from a group of about 1,000 walruses passing the Alaskan northern slope of Barrow, Alaska in mid-July. After the calf was observed alone for several days, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services authorized human intervention.

When he was rescued, Pakak was estimated to be 4-6 weeks old and 250 pounds – too young to be without his mother – and suffering from dehydration and lice. In the wild, a walrus calf commonly stays with his mother for at least two years.

Since his rescue, Pakak has been in the care of the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, which provides care for sick and injured marine animals.

A week after Pakak's rescue an even younger orphaned male walrus rescue was brought to Seward. The two calves have been living together since late July.

The Indianapolis Zoo was honored to be selected by the USFWS to be the permanent home for Pakak. Similarly, the New York Aquarium has been selected as the second calf's new permanent home.

Pakak will join other wildlife rescues in the Indianapolis Zoo's collection.  Taz, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin; Ray, a California sea lion; Pepper, a grey seal; and Tak, a harbor seal all reside at the Zoo on West Washington Street.

Pakak must undergo a mandatory 30-day quarantine once he arrives at the Zoo, as a precaution for the protection of all animals at the Indianapolis Zoo.