A male Pacific walrus calf, who was spotted on Alaska’s North Slope about four miles inland from the Beaufort Sea, is now in the care of the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program. Photo courtesy of ASLC.

A male Pacific walrus calf who wandered four miles inland on Alaska’s North Slope, where he was spotted by slope workers, is now in the care of the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program in Seward.  

An initial diagnosis showed the 200-pound calf to be suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and a cloudy eye, and blood tests confirmed that the calf was dehydrated and suggested that he may be fighting an infection, veterinarians at the center said. 

The calf is currently on a 24-hour care regimen. 

Veterinarians said walruses are highly tactile and social animals who receive near-constant care from their mothers during the first two years of life. Round-the-clock “cuddling” is being provided to ensure the calf remains calm and develops in a healthy manner. Calves tend to habituate quickly to human care, and staff report that he is already eating formula from a bottle. 

“We are lucky that his first night went well,” said ASLC Wildlife Response Curator Jane Belovarac. “It isn’t often that we’re able to admit a walrus calf, but every time we do, we learn more about the species and how to care for them.”  

After receiving approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the ASLC coordinated with Alaska Clean Seas and ConocoPhillips Alaska to provide shelter and arrange travel. The calf was moved to a warehouse, and teams kept a watchful eye on him overnight. ConocoPhillips Alaska offered the use of one of the company’s planes for transport. Staff from both organizations then flew with the calf to the Seward Airport to meet with the ASLC team.  


ASLC officials expressed their appreciation of the support from Alaska Clean Seas and ConocoPhillips Alaska for guaranteeing the calf’s swift arrival, and for going above and beyond to provide safety and comfort during his first night’s stay.    

Alaska Clean Seas has been an active Oiled Wildlife Response Partner with the ASLC since 2010, and ConocoPhillips has been a major supporter of the Center for many years, ASLC officials said. 

The center provides care for stranded and injured marine animals with help from corporate sponsors and individual donors.