Two new walruses, named Lakina and Balzak, have arrived at Vancouver Aquarium, only to find themselves in a very snowy new home.
The young walruses, female and male respectively, were born in professional care in May 2016 at the Aquarium du Québec.
They are half siblings, sharing the same father, Boris, but different mothers, Arnaliaq and Samka respectively.
In a release, Dolf DeJong, vice-president and general manager of Vancouver Aquarium, said he is excited to be working with the Aquarium du Québec.
“We are excited that Lakina and Balzak have joined the Vancouver Aquarium family,” said DeJong.
“Most importantly, we look forward to providing our visitors with the opportunity to connect with and learn from these charismatic animals.”
The move comes after some controversy, when a Vancouver animal rights group protested the two young walruses being separated from their mother.
However, the Aquarium du Québec’s team members are in Vancouver to ensure the walruses have a smooth transition to their new home.
Over the next few months, Vancouver Aquarium’s marine mammal team will work with the two walruses so they can get to know each other.
Vancouver Aquarium staff describe the two new walruses as “charismatic” and expect to introduce Lakina and Balzak to guests sometime in 2018.
The Latin name for walrus is Odobenus rosmarus, literally “tooth-walking seahorse” and as the name would suggest, little is known about the Arctic beasts.
According to the release from Vancouver Aquarium, walruses are pinnipeds or fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals and there may be several thousand in Canadian waters.
It is likely the animals are being threatened by climate change, but, with little data available, especially for populations elsewhere, it is not yet possible to classify them as endangered.
Vancouver Aquarium hopes the two new walruses will connect visitors to their species, the conservation issues faced in the north, and how humans may help protect them in nature.
Here are some more great shots of these fantastic beasts: