Featured Image Credit: Shedd Aquarium
We’ve been following Tyonek the baby beluga for a while now. Ever since he was discovered all alone near an Alaskan village, we have been following his road to recovery and it has been nothing short of amazing.
Tyonek was less than a month old when he was found stranded in Cook Inlet, Alaska by state and federal wildlife officers in September 2017. After months of 24/7 monitoring and care at the Alaska SeaLife Center, NOAA Fisheries determined Tyonek to be non-releasable in January 2018. This is because Tyonek is nutritionally and socially dependent and lacks both survival and socialization skills needed to be successful on his own in the wild.
But why did they choose SeaWorld San Antonio for Tyonek’s permanent home? According to NOAA, it was the “location best suited for Tyonek to thrive.”
“We are grateful to the Alaska SeaLife Center and all the partner aquariums that worked tirelessly to care for Tyonek in these critical first months,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver. “Tyonek is an ambassador for his species, and we are excited for the public to learn more about Cook Inlet beluga whales.”
Late last Friday night, SeaWorld welcomed Tyonek to his new San Antonio home, making this little adventurer the FIRST Cook Inlet beluga whale to be successfully rescued and rehabilitated arrived in Texas after an amazing 4,000-mile journey. SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team partnered with the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) and NOAA Fisheries to coordinate the journey for the baby beluga.
According to a press release, Tyonek is acclimating to his new environment and receiving around-the-clock care from SeaWorld’s expert veterinary staff. He will remain behind the scenes at his new home until he becomes completely acclimated.