SeaWorld Orlando Welcomes First Walrus Calf
June 20, 2017
Kaboodle, a 14 year-old Walrus at SeaWorld Orlando, welcomed her first calf in early June. This is a first for the SeaWorld Orlando family, and they are justifiably excited!
According to SeaWorld’s animal care ambassadors, who kept a close watch on Kaboodle throughout her pregnancy, mom and calf immediately bonded and have been inseparable ever since.
Guests won’t be able to see Kaboodle and her calf, just yet. The adorable pair is currently under 24-hour care with their husbandry team to make sure than mom and calf are growing and thriving together.
Check with SeaWorld’s social channels and website for updates: https://seaworld.com/
The Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only living species in the family Odobenidae and genus Odobenus. This species is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic Walrus (O. r. rosmarus) which lives in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Walrus (O. r. divergens) which lives in the Pacific Ocean, and O. r. laptevi, which lives in the Laptev Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
Adult Walruses are recognized by their prominent tusks, whiskers, and bulkiness. Adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) and are exceeded in size only by the two species of Elephant Seals.
Walruses live mostly in shallow waters above the continental shelves, spending significant amounts of their lives on the sea ice looking for benthic bivalve mollusks to eat. Walruses are relatively long-lived, social animals, and they are considered to be a "keystone species" in the Arctic marine regions.
Gestation lasts 15 to 16 months. The first three to four months are spent with the blastula in suspended development before it implants itself in the uterus. This strategy of delayed implantation, common among pinnipeds, presumably evolved to optimize both the mating season and the birthing season, determined by ecological conditions that promote newborn survival. Calves are born during the spring migration, from April to June. They weigh about 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb) at birth and are able to swim.
Mothers nurse for over a year before weaning, but the young can spend up to five years with the mothers. Calves are born with robust whiskers, which help identify the shellfish they can eat. Because ovulation is suppressed until the calf is weaned, females give birth at most every two years, leaving the Walrus with the lowest reproductive rate of any pinniped.
Walruses live about 20-30 years in the wild.
While Walruses are not yet classified as a threatened species by the IUCN, they have been adversely affected by global climate change. That’s where SeaWorld Orlando has stepped in to help. With the permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the park has been able to aid and care for orphaned Walrus calves.