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Abandoned baby walruses head to new homes

Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The New York Aquarium announced one of two baby walruses orphaned off the northern coast of Alaska will soon make the facility its permanent home.

Four-month-old Pakak, who weighs 350, is scheduled to arrive at the aquarium Thursday via Fed-Ex, ABC News reported Saturday.

The Indianapolis Zoo announced Wednesday the second baby walrus, Mitik, who at 4 months old weighs 234 pounds, will take up residence at its facility next week.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized human intervention after the calves were separated from a group of walruses passing the northern slope of Barrow, Alaska, in July, The Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.

Both were nursed back to health at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

"These 'little' guys have been a ton of work, but the work was so satisfying that it was nearly impossible to be bothered by it," Tara Jones, president of the Alaska SeaLife Center said. "We will miss those two very social, inquisitive animals that always wanted attention."

Zoo officials will quarantine both animals for 30 days before they are allowed to join the walrus populations at their respective zoos, ABC News reported.

The estimated cost to ship Mitik and Pakak is about $15,000 dollars, which the receiving zoos will pay.

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