ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — An endangered beluga whale calf rescued off Alaska’s coast is now swimming in his new home at a SeaWorld theme park in Texas.
The 5-month-old whale named Tyonek made a 4,000-mile journey to SeaWorld San Antonio on Thursday. Tyonek was less than a month old when he became stranded in Alaska’s Cook Inlet last fall.
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) fisheries said SeaWorld was selected to care for the whale because it was the “location best suited for Tyonek to thrive.
Workers at Orlando-based SeaWorld say Tyonek is the first Cook Inlet beluga calf to be successfully rescued and rehabilitated.
Experts from the Alaska SeaLife Center said Tyonek’s mother likely abandoned him or died. NOAA officials said Tyonek could not be released to the wild because he lacks the survival and social skills needed to thrive on his own.
SeaWorld San Antonio already has nine beluga whales, including adult females and young male beluga calves, at their facility.
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