Brooklyn's Baby Walrus Dies of Pneumonia

Was 2 years old

By Jennifer Millman
|  Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009  |  Updated 1:57 PM EDT
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Akituusaq, the first Pacific walrus born in the New York Aquarium's 113-year history, has died. He was 2.

Akituusaq, the first Pacific walrus born in the New York Aquarium's 113-year history, has died. He was 2.

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It's a sad day at the New York Aquarium. Akituusaq, the first Pacific walrus born in the aquarium's 113-year history, has died. He was only 2 years old.

The baby walrus died yesterday, having succumbed to complications from pneumonia, officials said. 

The aquarium tried its best to save Akituusaq's life, placing him under special care by Wildlife Conservation Society veterinarians for the last few days, where he got round-the-clock attention, they said. Working tirelessly, WCS staff closely monitored his status and provided dedicated medical care.

Unfortunately, their efforts went unrewarded.  

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved walrus Akituusaq and are proud of the exemplary care that our entire staff provided during this critical time,” Jon Forrest Dohlin, New York Aquarium Director, said in a statement. “We know Brooklyn was proud of Akituusaq and many loved him. This is a loss to the whole community.”

Akituusaq celebrated his second birthday this past spring. Walrus births in aquariums are very rare, with only one in five living past their first year.

The walrus' name, Akituusaq, means "a gift given in return," in the Yupik language of Siberia.

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