Tyonek has landed.The first ever stranded Cook Inlet beluga whale to be successfully rescued and rehabilitated is at his new home at Sea World in San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Tyonek is a young beluga whale calf that arrived at SeaWorld San Antonio last night, where he ended a 4,000 mile journey all the way from Seward Alaska, which is southeast of Anchorage," Sea World Vice President of Zoological Operations Chris Bellows tells News Radio 1200 WOAI.
Tyonek was abandoned at the age of about one month, and dozens of rescue and rehabilitation experts have participated in the whale's rescue, providing care in the critical first months of his life.
After Tyonek was rehabilitated, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined she was not able to be returned to her natural habitat, and determined that SeaWorld, with its collection of whales and long experience in caring for belugas, should be her new home.
"Being able to help rehabilitate Tyonek last year was one of the most rewarding moments of my career," Sea World Assistant Curator Scott McCoy said. "We hope his story will inspire millions of SeaWorld guests to care about wild animals and thier habitats."
Tyonek's journey is part of SeaWorld's journey to become a leading center for protection and rehabilitation of sea life, especially endangered species.
Bellows says Tyonek will be able to be seen buy SeaWorld guests, but not right away.
"We will be sharing his story with our guests, and folks will be able to see him in our behind the scenes tours in the short future," Bellows said.
Tyonek is named after an Alaska village which was first explored by Captain James Cook in the 1770s. It is home to a federally recognized Native American community.
PHOTO: SEAWORLD SAN ANTONIO