Coney Island walrus goes to Texas

Old soul: Despite his young age, Mitik wears his mustache like a pro.
Photo by Julie Maher

One of Brooklyn’s favorite mustached marine mammals is taking a trip to Texas.

Mitik the walrus, who came to the New York Aquarium after a harrowing Alaskan rescue in 2012, will spend some time at Sea World San Antonio while his Coney Island habitat gets a makeover.

“Construction at the New York Aquarium will be completed in 2016,” said Jon Dohlin, vice president and director of the aquarium. “At that time, Mitik, is expected to return to New York.”

Fisherman saved the large-toothed orphan after spotting him alone six miles off the cost of Alaska’s North Slope sick, tired, and apparently separated from his herd. After a short rehab stint in an Arctic resort, he hopped a FedEx jet to Brooklyn to finish recuperating.

At the time of his arrival in Brooklyn, Mitik weighed just 250 pounds. A full-sized male can top off at a whopping 2,700 pounds, according to the aquarium’s website. That is a lot of Coney Island Red Hots.

Superstorm Sandy hit only weeks after his arrival, damaging his newfound home.

The aquarium continues to rebuild after the storm and, until his digs are back in working order, the 18-month-old Mitik is vacationing in a place where his whiskers should fit in just fine.

Trainers from the aquarium accompanied Mitik to San Antonio to smooth his transition, and his new hosts say he is eating well and taking the move in stride.

“Our trainers have been delighted by his calm and gentle demeanor,” said Sea World San Antonio spokesman Brian Carter

The Surf Avenue aquarium still has two resident walruses, both ladies, Kulu and Nuka. They can be seen in the above-ground portion of the aquarium’s Sea Cliffs exhibit. The underwater viewing portion of the habitat remains closed.

Brooklyn’s most famous walrus, Ayveq, passed away at the age of 14 in 2008. He was a frequent feature on the pages of this paper and raised eyebrows with his unrepentant public masturbation.

Ayveq’s son Akituusaq passed away in 2009 at the tender age of 2.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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