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Rescued baby walrus dies, but two others under care at Alaska SeaLife Center (VIDEO)

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Seward’s Alaska SeaLife Center announced on Thursday that one of the three walruses that was brought into their care this summer has died.

The first walrus calf brought to the center from Barrow on July 22 is stable, weighing in at 275 pounds, suckling readily from a bottle, and is interacting well with the caretakers.

The calf is being treated at the SeaLife Center’s I.Sea.U critical care unit, which opened on June 8, 2012. It was intended as a nursery for stranded sea otters, but since none have been admitted the program this summer, the I.Sea.U remained unoccupied until the walruses showed up. Visitors to the SeaLife Center can view the walrus through one-way windows at the I.Sea.U unit.

A second walrus calf, which was brought to the center on July 30, is currently in critical condition, and workers are caring for it behind the scenes. The third calf died just 24 hours after being admitted on July 30, due to multiple complications related to his initial stranding.

The three walruses are the first that the center has treated in five years.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent rehabilitation center in the state which responds to stranded wildlife.

The center encourages people to report stranded animals to call their 24-hour hotline at 1-888-774-7325, and to avoid touching or approaching the animal.