Everyone, say hello to Mitik the walrus. Or, if you live in New York, say goodbye to him, because he’s headed for Texas while his current home — the New York Aquarium — undergoes a two-year renovation.
In 2012, Mitik arrived at the Brooklyn facility as a 15-week-old orphan from Alaska, suffering from a variety of health problems like dehydration, a bladder infection and a high white blood cell count, the aquarium said. An Alaskan fisherman had discovered him with another walrus calf several miles off the Alaskan coast, and soon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended sending him to New York. The other calf ended up at the Indianapolis Zoo.
A few weeks after Mitik settled in, Hurricane Sandy damaged much of the aquarium. Now, the facility is beginning a major construction project, including ongoing repairs from the storm, the New York Times reports. The project is expected to last two years, and officials decided that the best place for Mitik to spend that time is SeaWorld San Antonio. But don’t worry, New Yorkers: they’re planning on bringing him back when construction is complete.
In the meantime, all of Mitik’s health problems have been resolved, Jon Forrest Dohlin, vice president and director of the aquarium, told the Times. And more good news: his new Texan digs sound rather choice. And that’s very important, because we expect only the best for Mitik, who apparently is just beginning to learn that he’s indeed a walrus, and not a person.
“He’s making a funny transition from understanding that he’s a human to understanding that he’s a walrus,” Dolin said. “During his first look at a walrus, he was like, ‘What’s that?”
Oh Mitik, you silly little creature. You are perfect. Never change. Be sure to send us a postcard from San Antonio!