Walrus at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium dies at age 24

TACOMA, Wash. — A Pacific walrus named Joan died Thursday at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, the zoo said.

The 24-year-old walrus had been suffering from declining health in the last few weeks, zoo officials explained. They say Joan recently stopped eating and responding to her keepers.

Joan died during a medical procedure where veterinarians were trying to determine what was wrong.

“Joan was an extraordinary animal, and this is a difficult loss for all of us who cared for her,” said Dr. Karen Wolf, the zoo’s head veterinarian.

Wolf suspects a possible gastrointestinal blockage or neurological disease contributed to Joan’s declining health, but a necropsy will determine the cause of death.

Joan arrived at the zoo in 2006 as part of a breeding program. Pacific walruses are considered a vulnerable species in the wild.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.