New York Aquarium inundated; baby walrus safe

Staff stayed in deluge overnight to ensure safety of inhabitants, including orphaned calf Mitik

Orphaned walrus calf Mitik is receiving around-the-clock care at the flooded New York Aquarium in Coney Island. AP Photo/Wildlife Conservation Society, Julie Larsen Maher

The entire 14 acres of the New York Aquarium in Coney Island was underwater after Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday evening — soaking human staff and one very large baby under their care.

Aquarium employees remained onsite when the storm made landfall Monday evening and stayed through the night. There they were able watch over the aquarium’s newest inhabitant, the 236-pound walrus baby Mitik. The calf arrived earlier in the month from Alaska, and Jim Breheny, executive vice president of the aquarium, said his care hadn’t been interrupted by the flooding.

“As an orphaned calf, he was experiencing some health issues when he came to us as a rescue,” said Breheny in a statement. “We have been monitoring his condition carefully since his arrival and continued this around-the-clock care throughout the duration of the storm.”

Meanwhile, the organization’s four zoos in the Bronx, Central Park, Prospect Park and Queens, reportedly did not undergo serious damage and “all animals fared well,” according to Breheny, though all locations are expected to be closed until further notice.

In a statement, the Wildlife Conservation Society said a full assessment of the damage to the aquarium would be impossible until the waters receded.

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  1. Thanks for the update! I LOVE this guy, and was WORRIED about him!
    Just the thought of him flapping his fat little hiney all alone down
    91st and 1st Avenue in a hurricane broke my heart.
    If I lived in a hand-packed igloo on a lone ice-covered archipelago,
    I’d adopt him as my son!!
    Keep up the great work guys!

  2. I’m SO happy to hear that Mitik is ok! I’ve been following his story (along with Pakak’s) and I was so worried about him. Thank you so much to the staff who took care of him during this very trying time! I know you must have been worried about your own families and friends – Mitik sure is lucky to have such great caregivers! Thank you!!!