Prescription for orphan walrus calf: touch, massage, cuddle, repeat

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A walrus calf found last month outside Nome, Alaska, is being nursed to health with the help of 24-hour massage therapy.

A spokeswoman for the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward says the center’s recuperation plan for the walrus includes touching, massaging and cuddling.

Jennifer Gibbins says walrus spend two years with their mothers. She says calves need constant contact and part of the caregiving at the center is providing tactile interaction.

The male calf weighed 120 pounds (54 kilograms) when it arrived. Gibbins says the animal was severely dehydrated and lethargic.

It’s now feeding from a bottle seven times per day and weighs 143 pounds (65 kilograms).

Gibbins says the calf can’t be taught to fend for itself and will not be released into the wild.

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