Aquarium du Québec mourns the passing of 
a “very special” adult female walrus

“It is a sad day for all of us,” said Dr. Susan Shafer, the
executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums

Ottawa (June 30, 2018) — The family of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums offers its condolences to the staff, volunteers and everyone who adored Samka, a very special 13-year-old female walrus who died in Quebec City recently.

“It’s rare for walruses to give birth in captivity,” said Dr. Susan Shafer, the executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. “Samka was one of a pair of female walruses who gave birth at the Quebec Aquarium in the past year or so.”

How rare? Since 1930, only 19 female walruses have become pregnant in captivity in North America. A total of 15 resulted in live births, with just six surviving beyond one year—only one of those reached adulthood.

“We are fortunate that the spirit of Samka lives on in Lakina, her offspring who now lives at the Vancouver Aquarium with her half sister, Balzac,” said Dr. Shafer. The two Vancouver walruses share the same father.

Samka died after a week-long illness. The cause of death is not yet known—an autopsy will be performed by the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).

Keepers at the Quebec Aquarium are on alert, keeping a close eye on the two other resident adult walruses, Arnaliaq the female and the male, Boris.


Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards-development organization in Canada. Its standards-development process includes expert opinions from researchers, biologists and academics to ensure the standards reflect the latest in animal-welfare research, organizational management and public-safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums. These standards are currently the only pan-Canadian set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country.



For More Information:  

Dr. Susan Shafer
Executive Director
Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA)
613-627-3779 ext. 221

Back To Main


9 - 2020 Lanthier Drive
BOX 107, Orleans, Ontario
K4A 3V4

Site Map