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Media Contact: (907) 463-2065

17th District Public Affairs

U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

Date: July 30, 2012

U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Public Affairs Kodiak

Contact: Petty Office 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg

Office: (907) 487-5700

Mobile: (907) 321-4505

Imagery Available: Coast Guard transports two orphaned walrus from Barrow

Editors Note: Click the images below to reveal high resolution photos and video

Two baby walrus which were rescued in Barrow, Alaska, were transferred aboard a Kodiak-based Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane to an awaiting Alaska SeaLife Center veterinarian at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson July 30, 2012. The walrus were transferred by Coast Guard and Air Force personnel from the airplane to an awaiting truck for further transportation to Seward. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley    An Alaska SeaLife Center employee prepares a walrus calf for transport aboard a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane in Barrow, Alaska, July 30, 2012. The Coast Guard crew assisted Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska SeaLife Center personnel transport three malnourished Walrus calves to Anchorage for veterinary care.    Two Coast Guard crewmembers aboard a Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules airplane transfer a baby walrus from the plane to an awaiting Air Force truck at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 30, 2012. Two baby walrus were rescued in Barrow and transported by the Coast Guard to the Anchorage area where they then transferred to an awaiting truck for transportation to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.    Air Force crewmembers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, transfer one of two baby walrus from an Air Force truck to a wildlife truck for transportation to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward July 30, 2012. Two baby walrus were rescued in Barrow and transported aboard a Kodiak-based Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane to the Anchorage area where they were meet by an Alaska SeaLife Center veterinarian who then drove them to Seward. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.   

KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane crew transported two walrus calves from Barrow to Anchorage for further transport to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward Monday.

The Coast Guard received a call Monday from the Alaska Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating that two walrus calves were found orphaned for unknown reasons near Barrow. The calves were found malnourished and in need of immediate veterinary assistance.

“That is where the assistance of the Coast Guard came in,” said Tim Lebling the stranding coordinator with the Alaska SeaLife Center. “There was not a (commercial) flight available, and these guys were in critical condition and needed to get back to our veterinarian standing by in Anchorage. We were incredibly fortunate to have the Coast Guard able to fly us back to Anchorage this afternoon.”

The calves were transported in large kennels aboard the Hercules along with wildlife professionals to monitor stress levels and the overall health of the animals. They arrived to Anchorage at about 5 p.m. and will be further transported to Seward aboard a truck.

“Even though this is a unique case, it aligns with our Coast Guard roles and missions,” said Capt. Melissa Rivera, commanding officer Air Station Kodiak. “With our new presence in the Arctic, we can provide our help and support in a variety of different ways.”

Although the Coast Guard is known for its safety and security missions, the environmental stewardship mission in Alaska has a history dating back more than 130 years. In 1872, Revenue Cutter Service ships were dispatched to the region to examine exploited seal rookeries.  This led to the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 and ultimately the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Today Air Station Kodiak regularly conducts observation flights over protected seal and walrus rookeries. 

Currently, the Alaska SeaLife Center is the only marine mammal rehabilitation center in the state of Alaska. The Coast Guard previously transported marine mammals for the Alaska SeaLife Center in 2005 and 2007.

To learn more about the condition of the calves and to follow their progress please visit www.alaskasealife.org.

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