Point Defiance Zoo introduces two young walruses from Québec

Nov 17, 2022, 1:22 PM


From left, Lakina and Balzak (Photo courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium)

(Photo courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium)

Two young walruses, born just weeks apart six years ago, have moved together from Aquarium du Québec to their new home at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Walruses Balzak, male, and Lakina, female, arrived in Tacoma on Wednesday, accompanied by a veterinarian and keeper from Aquarium du Québec.

“These two walruses have been together their entire lives, so they rely on each other,” said Point Defiance Zoo Assistant Curator Sheriden Ploof.

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Balzak currently weighs 1,947 pounds (fully-grown males weigh 5,000 pounds) and Lakina weighs 1,058 pounds (fully-grown females weigh up 2,700 pounds).

There are now just 14 total walruses in human care in the U.S., said Malia Somerville, curator of marine mammals and birds at Point Defiance Zoo.

“Not many people have the chance to visit the Arctic, where walruses live in the wild,” said Somerville. “Our community has a rare opportunity to see this extraordinary species up close, learn about the challenges walruses face in the wild, and take action to protect them.”

Three Sumatran tigers born at Point Defiance Zoo in 2014

Walruses can be seen in the U.S. in just five zoos — The Indianapolis Zoo, the New York Aquarium, and two Sea World locations (Orlando and San Diego) alongside the Port Defiance Zoo.

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Point Defiance Zoo introduces two young walruses from Québec