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Walrus orphan finds new home at SeaWorld

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2004

KENAI - A baby walrus found tangled in fishing nets near Barrow this summer is getting used to her new home at San Diego's SeaWorld.

Tessa is now 3 months old and part of the animal park's Wild Arctic exhibit.

Fishermen spotted the young animal in July on a beach. She was alone and wandering the beach, where she got wrapped up in fishing nets. For hours, the fishermen searched for the mother while trying to shoo the baby walrus back into the water. Both efforts were unsuccessful.

Tessa was handed over to an animal control officer and moved to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, where she was cared for before being moved to SeaWorld for rehabilitation.

When she was found, Tessa was about a week old and weighed about 137 pounds. If not rescued, the baby walrus likely would have died of dehydration and starvation.

Now, she's up to a healthier 227 pounds, according to her keepers at SeaWorld. She is being bottle-fed a simulated walrus milk formula until she's ready for whole fish and clams. She also is receiving the tactile stimulation social creatures like walruses need, her handlers said.



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