E.T. the walrus' health is improving

Staff writerMay 22, 2014 

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium Tacoma

During his three decades at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, E.T. the walrus has become a favorite zoo attraction.

JANET JENSEN — Staff photographer file, 2012 Buy Photo

E.T.’s health is on the upswing.

Veterinarians at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium said the walrus started eating small amounts of food Wednesday, a promising sign since he stopped eating May 12.

He’s also been swimming in a pool behind-the-scenes since the weekend.

“We’re pleased to have a perkier walrus,” staff biologist Lisa Triggs said, who is one of E.T.’s main keepers.

E.T. has been suffering from a gastrointestinal infection and been in guarded condition for the last several days. On Thursday, head vet Karen Wolf said the walrus is making “significant strides” toward recovery.

The zoo has not released details on the walrus’ illness or said what might have caused it.

E.T. will continue to be monitored and treated behind the scenes. Although he is exhibiting some normal behavior, he still does not feel well.

“We’re still monitoring his health very closely,” Wolf said.

E.T., named for the extraterrestrial creature in Steven Spielberg’s movie, came to Tacoma in 1982 after being orphaned in Alaska.

He is now 32, weighs 3,350-pounds and is one of the most popular animals at the zoo.

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service