Aku's journey from Nome to Seward

Published: Oct. 14, 2017 at 2:22 PM AKDT
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His name is Aku, meaning stern of the boat in Inupiaq, and the walrus calf has had quite the adventure.

He came to the Alaska SeaLife Center in June after being rescued by gold miners off the coast of Nome.

In the summer, when the Arctic sea ice melts away, Pacific walruses usually haul out on land to stay near food.

According to the SealLife Center, on June 14 the calf hauled out onto a gold mining barge and after returning from a home trip the crew found Aku still on board the next day.

Staff veterinarian and first to evaluate the calf after being flown to Anchorage said in an ASLC article that “Walrus are incredibly tactile, social animals. Calves typically spend about two years with their mothers, so we have to step in to provide that substitute care and companionship. This includes round-the-clock physical contact and care from staff.”

Aku was placed in the centers largest quarantine area where visitors could overlook his rehabilitation through windows, but his time in the public spotlight is coming to a close.

On Saturday the Alaska SeaLife Center wrote: “Due to changing needs of our Wildlife Response patients, Aku will be moved out of his current location soon.”

From a gold mining town to one of the state’s largest cities, Aku’s story is one that has brought smiles to dozens of SeaLife Center visitors.

The Center says his last day for public viewing is Sunday, October 15th.