SeaWorld Orlando has a new family member to celebrate. The Orlando theme park welcomed a 150-pound, female Pacific walrus calf on July 3, to mom Kaboodle and dad Garfield.
Under the watchful eye of SeaWorld’s animal care team, it was determined that Kaboodle was not lactating, and the calf had not received the proper nutrition. The team made the decision to intervene and is now providing 24-hour care including eight bottle feedings a day, socialization and companionship.
"I am incredibly proud to watch our teams in action as they provide world-class care for Kaboodle and her calf," said Gus Antorcha, CEO of SeaWorld Parks. In a statement “Our talented veterinarians and animal experts gave the best in prenatal care for Kaboodle, and now ongoing, round-the-clock care of mom and calf."
SeaWorld’s walrus program plays an important role in education and inspiring the public about threatened animals and how we can help. In SeaWorld’s 55 years of animal care, only four walrus calves have been born. With this birth there are now 18 walruses living in six zoological facilities in the United States. These walruses give the public the opportunity to see these animals up-close and learn how human activities impact their survival. Plus, scientists and researchers are better able to understand walrus biology that they wouldn’t otherwise if the animals were in the wild.
Walruses biggest threat is the disappearance of floating sea ice. Walruses depend on stable sea ice for everything from food to providing safe havens for their young. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has provided research assistance on the Pacific walrus and the impact of habitat loss.
You won’t be able to see the calf just yet at the park. The baby and Kaboodle remain behind the scenes during these first weeks as the calf continues to gain weight and learn to swim. You can, however, see other residents of Wild Arctic, including walruses and beluga whales at the park.