Walrus Awareness Week at SeaWorld aims to educate park guests - The CW San Diego - News 8

Walrus Awareness Week at SeaWorld aims to educate park guests

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – SeaWorld San Diego is preparing for Walrus Awareness Week by giving guests a chance to learn more about the massive marine mammals.

One of the walruses at SeaWorld San Diego is Dozer, a 25-year-old, 3,100-pound male. He has lived at all three SeaWorld parks in the United States and returned to San Diego in October after a year-long breeding visit at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.  

Dozer is smart, calm and patient, and the leader of the "huddle" - the term used to describe a group of walruses. He eats 130 pounds of fish, squid and clams every day - which is needed to maintain a thick layer of fat under his skin to help keep him warm. 

For walruses in the wild, that thick layer of fat under their skin helps them stay warm in the cold waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Artic Oceans.

SeaWorld is sounding the alarm for Walrus Awareness Week happening next month between December 2nd through the 8th.

Due to global warming, a reduction in Arctic ice has had a negative impact to the walrus population. “They use the ice not only to rest, but they use it as a taxi to new feeding grounds and the females use it to give birth,” Mitzi Synnott, senior care specialist at SeaWorld San Diego. 

During Walrus Awareness Week, SeaWorld will inform guests about steps we humans can take to help.

“Every time they use energy, it draws on fossil fuels and fossil fuels create carbon. Carbon increases temperature in the environment and it’s really dangerous for animals like walruses, beluga whales and polar bears that live in cold climates," said Bill Hoffman, the zoological curator at SeaWorld San Diego.

Dozer is one of only 14 walruses living in zoological settings in the United States. In fact, SeaWorld San Diego has four of them: 6-year-old Mitik, 24-year-old Uquq (pronounced "uk-uk") and 8-year-old Shoo-Shoo.

Dozer is also one of only two adult breeding male walruses in the U.S., and SeaWorld hopes he will help increase their population.

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