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Meet the residents of Wild Arctic at SeaWorld San Diego during the exhibit’s 25th anniversary celebration

by Susan and Simon Veness

Wild Arctic animal exhibit at SeaWorld San Diego has educated and inspired guests since 1997, offering an up-close look at beluga whales, harbor seals, a ringed seal, and walruses.

wild arctic seaworld san diego
Photo courtesy of SeaWorld

Only 12 walruses are currently living in the U.S., and SeaWorld San Diego’s Wild Arctic is one of only three places in the States where these massive mammals can be found.

Wild Arctic SeaWorld San Diego’s residents

Among the attraction’s inhabitants is Basa, the oldest walrus in the exhibit at 38 years of age. Basa weighs in at 1,700 pounds, and when she’s not indulging in a mid-day nap, she takes on a mothering role for the exhibit’s younger walruses.

Kulu, Chou Chou, and Dozer make up the rest of the pod, along with ten-year-old Mitik, Wild Arctic’s youngest walrus who already tops the scales at a whopping 2,100 pounds.

Some of the attraction’s wackiest entertainment comes from Allua, one of three beluga whales, whose claim to fame is her ability to spit water in the air and catch it in her mouth. The behavior is natural to beluga whales in the wild as a means of finding food beneath ice floes and on silty ocean bottoms.

Ferdinand and Klondike are the exhibit’s other beluga whales. Ferdinand was born in 1969 and is the oldest living beluga whale in a zoological setting. He came from Germany to his permanent home in San Diego in 2004.

Klondike is easy to recognize, tipping the scales at over one ton.

Wild Arctic’s smaller residents include ringed seal Natchek, a 26-year-old male rescued in Barrow Alaska in 1996. Natchek’s size – just 100-105 pounds – is relatively small in comparison to the exhibit’s harbor seals, BB and Denali. Natchek’s favorite pastimes include wrapping himself around kelp and laying in the snow.

wild arctic ringed seal

Visitors to the attraction can take part in interactive experiences with belugas and walruses in the Beluga Up Close Encounter (an informative, behind-the-scenes guided look at the beluga habitat, plus the chance to hand-feed a beluga whale) and the face-to-whiskers Walrus Up Close Encounter featuring insights into the care and personalities of these large pinnipeds.

The Wild Arctic Trading Post gift shop offers 25% off all merchandise from June 20-23 as part of the celebration.

For more information visit SeaWorld.com/SanDiego.


Sea Lion juggling its food at SeaWorld San Diego
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