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234-Pound Baby Walrus Coming To New York Aquarium

Photo Credit: Tara Lipinsky

Photo Credit: Tara Lipinsky

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 234-pound baby walrus will soon have a new home at the New York Aquarium.

In a news release, the aquarium said the orphaned walrus calf was set to arrive on Coney Island in Brooklyn on Wednesday. The walrus, named Mitik, will be welcomed officially to the aquarium on Thursday, according to a New York Times report.

Mitik was discovered by Alaskan fishermen in July with another unrelated orphaned calf several miles off the coast near Barrow. Both calves were struggling to survive, the aquarium said.

Staff from the Alaskan SeaLife Center came to rescue Mitik, and began providing continuous care to both calves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended sending Mitik to the New York Aquarium, and the other orphaned walrus calf – Panak – to the Indianapolis Zoo, the aquarium said.

Fifteen-week-old Mitik had been experiencing health problems when he took off from Alaska. Initially, he suffered from bladder problems and was unable to take a bottle.

But New York Aquarium director John Dohlin said in the release that he was “hopeful (Mitik) will make a full recovery, and one day be exhibited with our other walruses at the New York Aquarium.”

Mitik was expected to spend his first month at the aquarium in quarantine in the medical area, and join the walrus exhibit next spring, the aquarium said in the release.

The New York Aquarium, at Surf Avenue and West 8th Street just off the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, is only one of a few institutions in the country that exhibit walruses. The aquarium has two other walruses – Nuka is 30 years old and Kulu is 17.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)