Meet Uquq (pronounced “uk-uk”), a 24-year-old, 1,850-pound female walrus who has recently joined the walrus “huddle” at SeaWorld San Diego.
Orphaned as a calf, Uquq has been an ambassador for walruses while living at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA since 1994. She arrived at SeaWorld on Nov. 11 joining the three other walruses that call the park’s Wild Arctic exhibit home.
Uquq was orphaned near Gambell, Alaska when she was only a few months old. It was determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that she would not be able to survive on her own and was placed at Discovery Kingdom’s zoological institution for long-term care.
With only 14 walruses in accredited zoos and aquariums in the United States, it is more important now than ever to educate the public about walruses and to manage their populations in zoological settings. Walruses are classed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. According to the IUCN, the arctic region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic is home to three other walruses (a 25-year-old male named Dozer, an 8-year-old female named Chouchou, [pronounced SHOO-shoo], and a 6-year-old male named Mitik); five beluga whales; and several seals.
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