Tusaaq the Baby Walrus - The Cute Show - VICE

Uploaded by vice on Jan 17, 2012


PAUL MOYLET: My name is Paul Moylet, and we are at the New
York Aquarium.
I am an animal care specialist, and my job is to
maintain the health of all the animals in our collection.
We work with a variety of species.
Mostly marine mammals, but we also work with
some birds as well.
FEMALE SPEAKER: How often are baby walruses born here?
PAUL MOYLET: Right now, there's only about 20 walruses
that exist in aquariums in the United States.
There's only been 15 births in the United States
in the past 31 years.
And out of those 15 walruses, only six have survived--
this guy's number six.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Tell me about his name.
PAUL MOYLET: His entire name is Akitusaaq, which means
"gift given in return" in the Yupik language, which the
Inuit people speak.
But we decided to shorten it a little bit,
kind of for our benefit.
So now we call him Tusaaq instead of Aki.
FEMALE SPEAKER: How much did he weigh when he was born?
PAUL MOYLET: We guesstimated that he weighed around 115 to
120 pounds, which is just about
average for a baby walrus.
It's a little over eight months later, and we just
weighed him this morning.
He weighed in at 364 pounds.
So he's quite large.
In fact, he's a lot larger than his father
was at the same age.
An average weight for an adult male Pacific walrus is around
3,300 to 3,500 pounds.

What about the temperature of the water?
Is it super cold?
PAUL MOYLET: The temperature of the water has to be
maintained in a very cold temperature.
These guys are Arctic animals, and so they really
need it to be cold.
And it gets down to about-- the coldest
I've seen is 42 degrees.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Did they like it when it was
snowing last week?
PAUL MOYLET: They love the snow.
They actually make snow angels.
What they like to do is crawl up onto snow and just kind of
roll around, make these big walrus-sized snow angels.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So tell me a day in the
life of a baby walrus.
PAUL MOYLET: Well, the baby walrus that we have, at least,
is very independent and very curious, and he's always into
They use suction to eat, so they suck on anything that
they can fit in their mouths.
And they're like hey, can I eat this?
And they suck on it, what does this tastes like?
Oh, it tastes good, it doesn't taste good.
So that's how he pretty much spends his day.

Marine mammals for the most part are
very intelligent animals.
And we do train our walruses to do a number of what we call
show behaviors.
It's just kind of fun for the public.
They wave and they salute, they do a lot of vocalizations
on command.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Can you hug a walrus?
PAUL MOYLET: You could definitely hug a walrus if the
walrus wants to be hugged.
You've got to keep in mind these guys are wild animals.
And sometimes they like a good scratch, and they'll actually
fall asleep if you rub them the right way.
But other times they choose not to be touched, and we just
have to respect them.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Have you ever hugged one?
PAUL MOYLET: I hug them all the time.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Are walruses your favorite?
PAUL MOYLET: I have to admit that walruses are
my favorite, yes.