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3,450-pound ladies man back on the prowl in Tacoma

Amorous walrus hopes a grunt and a whistle is enough to net a mate

Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s has a returning guest — Dozer the 3,450-pound Pacific walrus — back on a breeding loan. He'll make his debut Saturday and will show off his best sounds, hoping to attract his pool's female residents.
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Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s has a returning guest — Dozer the 3,450-pound Pacific walrus — back on a breeding loan. He'll make his debut Saturday and will show off his best sounds, hoping to attract his pool's female residents.

You could call him irresistible.

He has 17-inch tusks, is thick in the middle, goes by the name Dozer and whistles his way into hearts.

The walrus made a splash last year during his visit to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and now he’s back to woo three female walruses.

Dozer, 24, has already coupled with all the ladies, but breeding is another story.

“We know from tests that Dozer and the females are capable of reproduction and that copulation took place with all three,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, the zoo’s general curator. “But, sadly, none of the females is pregnant.”

Joan, 22, Basilla, 33, and Kulusiq, 23, are the ladies in question and all three are expected to mate with Dozer while he’s in Tacoma.

The walrus, who is on loan from SeaWorld San Diego, will make his public debut at Point Defiance Saturday.

Only 15 accredited zoos and aquariums in the country have walruses on exhibit.

Zoo officials hope breeding Dozer will increase the numbers and offer scientists an opportunity to study walrus reproduction.

Dozer’s whistling is said to attract females, and the more females in his bevy, the greater the odds that mating season will be a success.

The season lasts from December to March and Dozer will soon beginning gaining lots of weight to prepare.

Male walruses are ready to breed by age 10 and remain fertile into their 30s, said staff biologist Lisa Triggs. Females are sexually mature by 10 years old as well.

Zoo officials will do hormone-level tests to determine if or when Joan, Basilla or Kulusiq become pregnant.

Once a walrus egg is fertilized, it takes 4-5 months to be implanted in the uterus. The gestation period is about 15 months.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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