SEWARD, Ala. (KGTV) - Two members of SeaWorld’s San Diego animal rescue team, along with marine mammal experts from across North America, are helping give a beluga whale rescued in Alaska a second chance.
The four-week-old male calf was found stranded and in distress near Trading Bay in Western Cook Inlet, Alaska on Saturday. After being rescued, the calf was taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center.
Dr. Todd Schmitt, SeaWorld San Diego’s senior veterinarian, and Eric Otjen, the park assistant curator of mammals, are part of the team charged with caring for the calf.
The calf is just over five feet long and weighed 142 pounds. Currently, the calf is undergoing intensive critical care.
The calf is a member of the critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population, which currently consists of roughly 328 of the whales.
“As Alaska’s only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center, our team of experts are responsible for the care of a variety of critical wildlife response situations across the state,” said Tara Riemer, Alaska SeaLife Center’s president and CEO.
“To be able to have our expert colleagues assist us with this critically endangered beluga calf is a true testament to the marine mammal community’s commitment to caring for and preserving wild cetacean populations. To witness everyone come together for this very young calf is heartwarming as he is receiving the best 24-hour care from experts across North America.”
The young calf is being cared for by veterinarians and marine mammal husbandry who are taking shifts in the water to care for the calf.