Care of walruses
There are quite a few locations out there where you will find walruses in captivity. They allow humans the chance to get to see these animals up close. This type of exposure helps to remind people that these animals need to have their natural environments protected. These measures also serve to allow them to be observed by researchers. However, a great deal of their behaviors can be different in captivity than when they are in the wild so everything they do can’t be taken at face value.
Many of the walruses out there in captivity have suffered some type of injury or they are very old. By allowing them to remain in captivity their life is able to be extended. Some of the young are taken in when their mother’s are killed. However, it is common for another female walrus to step in and offer milk so such interventions by humans aren’t always necessary.
For the most part the walrus tends to adapt very well to the new environment. Many of the females won’t mate though for many years after being placed into captivity. Since they tend to be in very large groups in the wild it is important for them to have others to be around for the social interaction. This is a huge part of their lives and without it they will do very poorly in captivity.
A huge concern though for walruses in captivity is the fact that they are highly susceptible to viruses and bacteria. This can result in them becoming very ill or even dying. The risk of parasites is a problem for them in the wild so that can sometimes be a problem for them in captivity as well. It isn’t widely understood what causes them to be so vulnerable to these types of problems. Therefore it is very difficult for the environment to be protected from them.
Some of the walruses in captivity have been rescued from their natural habitat. They may have been injured by others in their herd or predators around them. Some of the young ones have gotten separated from their mother but somehow survived. They are often found in waterways that aren’t normal for the walrus to be in. By taking them into captivity they are giving these young pups a second chance at life.
Many conservation groups are absolutely not happy about the fact that some walruses are in captivity. They feel that sense this species isn’t in jeopardy right now of being extinct that they need to freely live in their natural environment. They feel that the funding for these walrus in captivity should be used instead to pay for educating the public and for reducing threats to the natural environment that they live in.
Another concern is that it does seem that walruses in captivity don’t live as long as they do in the wild. The difference can be a decade or more and that has conservation groups concerned. Yet you do have to remember that many of them came into captivity due to illness, injury, or not getting all the needed as a youngster. These factors certainly can have a profound effect on their life span.
It can be expensive to care for walruses in captivity though. It costs millions of dollars to create a habitat that they will feel comfortable in. If they require medical care then that is an additional expense to consider as well. Calves have to be bottle fed which can be both time consuming and expensive for the milk. On average the adults can consume up to 60 pounds of food each day. Most of these locations rely upon the fees they charge the public to see the walruses as well as grants and private donations to be able to offer such sites.