News / Vancouver

Vancouver Aquarium prepares for two baby walruses from Quebec facility

Moving the calves to Vancouver will allow the three adult walruses in Quebec to live together again.

Walrus calf Lakina (pictured) and Balzak are moving to the Vancouver Aquarium as of December 2017.

Isabelle Giroux / Sepaq

Walrus calf Lakina (pictured) and Balzak are moving to the Vancouver Aquarium as of December 2017.

The Vancouver Aquarium is getting ready to welcome two baby walruses this holiday season.

Lakina and Balzak were born two weeks apart in May 2016 at the Aquarium du Quebec, making them the first full-term calves born at a Canadian facility. The aquarium asked its counterpart in Vancouver to care for the calves, now a year-and-a-half old, and the pair will be arriving in the coming weeks, according to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Boris, the adult male walrus at the the Aquarium du Quebec, has been separated from the mothers since they gave birth since male walruses are not around when walrus calves are born in the wild, the Aquarium du Quebec said in a press release. The organization added that once Lakina and Balzak leave for the Vancouver Aquarium, Boris will be able to re-unite with the two female walruses, Arnaliaq and Samka.

Walrus calves Lakina and Balzak have lived with their mothers since they were born at the Aquarium du Quebec in May 2016, but the two calves are moving to the Vancouver Aquarium as of December 2017.

Francis Bouchard/Sépaq

Walrus calves Lakina and Balzak have lived with their mothers since they were born at the Aquarium du Quebec in May 2016, but the two calves are moving to the Vancouver Aquarium as of December 2017.

But some observers are already taking to social media to voice their concerns about the calves being taken away from their mothers too soon.

"In the wild, walrus calves accompany their mother from birth and are not weaned for two years or more," said Quad Finn, a former marine mammal rescuer in California.

An Aquarium du Quebec press release describes Lakina and Balzak as mature and independent, ready for the next step in their lives.

The walruses will call Vancouver home for "the next few years," the Vancouver Aquarium said in an emailed statement.

"This will be the first opportunity for many to connect with walruses and learn about the Arctic species," it said.

Baby walruses Balzak (pictured) and Lakina are about one-year-old and ready to move to a new home, according to the Aquarium du Quebec.

Isabelle Giroux/Sépaq

Baby walruses Balzak (pictured) and Lakina are about one-year-old and ready to move to a new home, according to the Aquarium du Quebec.

The Vancouver Aquarium says visitors will be able to meet Lakina and Balzak after they have adjusted to their new home, likely some time in spring 2018.

The new additions come following the death of five cetaceans in the past year and a half at the Vancouver Aquarium. Chester, the aquarium's false killer whale, died from a bacterial infection, according to preliminary necropsy results.

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