Dozer the walrus has his flippers full juggling three girlfriends.
The latest lady, Kulu, arrived at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this week.
She joins Joan and Basilla in a quest to successfully mate with Dozer, who is on loan from San Antonio through breeding season.
There are only 14 Pacific walruses at accredited zoos and aquariums in the United States, which means Tacoma now has nearly one-third of the nation’s walruses.
“This is an extremely rare occurrence, and it underscores the importance of having these four walruses together in the hope that they might produce some calves,” said Neil Allen, the zoo’s Aquatic Animal Curator.
Kulu, 22, came from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium and will stay until renovations are made there to repair storm damage.
Keepers put together Kulu’s dating profile for Dozer: playful, a strong personality, excited to learn new behaviors and weighing in at 1,346 pounds.
Dozer, 23, weighs 3,650 pounds.
His other girlfriends, 21-year-old Joan and 33-year-old Basilla, have lived in Tacoma for several years.
Kulu made her public debut at Rocky Shores on Thursday.
Members of a managed breeding program said walruses have a higher chance of reproducing if there are more females and a single male.
The breeding season, or rut, lasts through springtime. However, female walruses are only fertile for a few days each year.
Point Defiance Zoo staff are tracking the ladies’ hormone levels with blood samples taken when the walruses voluntarily present their flippers.
Once a walrus egg is fertilized, the embryo is not implanted in the uterus for four to five months. The gestation period is about 15 months.
The Pacific walrus is covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and is listed as a candidate for further safeguarding by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653