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A rare walrus calf was rescued in Alaska after found wandering alone and is currently under 24/7 cuddle care

By Sara Smart, CNN

(CNN) — A rare walrus calf is under 24/7 cuddle care after he was found wandering alone in northern Alaska last week.

The Pacific walrus calf, estimated to be about a month old, arrived at the Alaska SeaLife Center on August 1 after being spotted on Alaska’s North Slope, about four miles inland from the Beaufort Sea, according to the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Officials said the area where the nearly 140-pound calf was found was unusual, as Pacific walruses are usually found in the ocean or along the western coastline. The center said it’s unclear how the animal made it so far inland.

The center said it was its first walrus patient in four years and only one of 10 walruses ever admitted to the center in its 25-year history, according to a news release.

Walrus calves depend on maternal care for the first two years of their lives, and when this walrus was found there was no adult walrus in sight, according to the center.

“It was apparent that the wayward calf would not survive long without intervention,” the center said.

The calf was moved to a warehouse, where he stayed overnight under constant watch, and then transported by plane to the Alaska SeaLife Center facility.

The veterinary team was concerned about malnutrition, dehydration and a cloudy eye, the center said. Blood work confirmed he was dehydrated and may have been fighting an infection.

The veterinarian’s orders called for 24-hour care, which includes constant cuddling to help keep the calf calm and in hopes he develops healthily, the center said.

The around-the-clock cuddling is meant to emulate the maternal closeness calves are accustomed to, the center said.

The walrus remains under constant care while he continues to eat well and remains alert, the center said in an update posted to its Facebook page on Saturday.

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CNN’s Ashley R. Williams contributed to this report.

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