Happy b’day Akituusaq - New York Aquarium’s walrus pup celebrates first year

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Brooklyn’s beefiest baby tipped the scales at 115 pounds at birth and boasts a legion of smitten fans, many of whom helped name him in a competition on the Today show to mark his first birthday.

New York Aquarium’s world-famous marine marvel – an infant walrus named Akituusaq (pronounced ah-kee-TOO-sack) – was quite the birthday boy, celebrating his special day with his parents, Kulusiq and Ayveq, an ice cake and a spot in the history books.

The flippered mammal was the first walrus birth ever to be filmed, the first walrus to reach a first birthday in the 112-year history of the sea palace, 522 West 37th Street, and only the sixth of 10 such rare births to survive past a year in any aquarium.

Akituusaq’s name was selected from 9,400 cyber votes and means the “gift given in return” in Siberian Yupik. The language is spoken in St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, where Akituusaq’s parents were rescued as calves.

Walruses, found in the Arctic Ocean and the sub-Arctic are easily recognizable by their considerable heft and huge tusks. Fully-grown males can weigh as much as 4,409 pounds.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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