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Zoo celebrates walrus' 30th birthday

UPI News Service, 06/15/2012 

A Washington state zoo is celebrating the 30th birthday of its prized walrus E.T. with three days of walrus-themed events.

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma said the birthday bash for E.T., taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will include talks about the marine mammal and his species, a human-powered flipper relay race, and the serving of a fishy birthday cake and fishsicle treats for the walruses, The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune reported Friday.

Zoo administrators said the 3,450-pound walrus, one of only 17 walruses in U.S. zoos and aquariums, has two girlfriends but has yet to become a father. They said he is helping them to understand the species' biology.

"We really want to understand reproductive biology better not only to enhance breeding here, but also at facilities in North America and worldwide," zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. "By studying the walruses here and changes in their bodies, it gives us a model to base studies on in the wild."

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