Goodbye Lakina and Balzak – Quebec City aquarium to ship walruses to Vancouver

They “have grown a lot and have the maturity and independence to begin a new stage in their lives,” the Quebec City institution said in a statement Friday.

Montreal GazetteMontreal Gazette

Published on: December 1, 2017 | Last Updated: December 1, 2017 5:20 PM EST

Newborn baby walrus Lakina joins her mother, Arnaliaq, as the baby is introduced to the public at the provincial aquarium in Quebec City, Thursday, May 26, 2016. Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS

A couple of Quebec City walruses are moving to Vancouver.

Lakina and Balzak were born at the Aquarium du Québec in May 2016. They made headlines because they were just the seventh and eighth baby walruses born in captivity in North America since 1930.

They “have grown a lot and have the maturity and independence to begin a new stage in their lives,” the Quebec City institution said in a statement Friday.

“The team that successfully supervised their birth is convinced that it is now time to transfer Lakina and Balzak to another zoological institution to ensure the well-being of all individuals in the group.”

They are to be moved to the Vancouver Aquarium, which “has the facilities and expertise to care for and care for our two protégés,” before Christmas, the Aquarium du Québec said.

Transferring Lakina and Balzak will allow the Quebec City aquarium’s three adult walruses to return to their common pond.

Since the young ones were born the adult male, Boris, was living in “a separate space because in nature, the male does not usually stay with newborns,” the aquarium said.

“This separation has avoided the risk of injury to the little ones and facilitated the monitoring of their development. However, walruses being social animals, after a year and a half of separation, Aquarium du Québec experts are of the opinion that Boris would benefit from a return to life in a group.”

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