In this October 2017 file photo, volunteers at the Alaska SeaLife Center feed beluga calf Tyonek, who was rescued on Sept. 30, 2017, after he was stranded in Trading Bay. (Photo courtesy of Alaska SeaLife Center).

In this October 2017 file photo, volunteers at the Alaska SeaLife Center feed beluga calf Tyonek, who was rescued on Sept. 30, 2017, after he was stranded in Trading Bay. (Photo courtesy of Alaska SeaLife Center).

Tyonek being treated around the clock

Tyonek, the stranded baby beluga whale rescued in 2017, is under constant care at SeaWorld San Antonio.

“Tyonek, the endangered beluga calf found abandoned in Western Cook Inlet, Alaska, has been under treatment for persistent digestive challenges since he was rescued more than a year ago,” according to SeaWorld.

“For the past several days he has been treated for inflammation and continued digestive issues by our team of veterinary and beluga specialists at SeaWorld San Antonio. He appears to be responding to treatment and showing some positive improvement. Our teams continue to provide round-the-clock care as we do everything possible to help him recover.”

Tyonek is the first whale from the endangered Cook Inlet population to survive in human care. After the 4-week-old whale was rescued on Sept. 30, 2017, Tyonek was brought to the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, where he was cared for on a 24/7 basis. He was moved from the Sea Life Center to San Antonio in March 2018.

In October, SeaWorld reported that Tyonek was doing well in the rehabilitation process.

Since 1979, the Cook Inlet beluga whale population has declined by nearly 75 percent and is designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. NOAA scientists estimated in 2016 the population at about 328, in comparison to 1,300 in 1979.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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