In the wild, Apollo the walrus could have lived more than 30 years.
But this week at Marineland in Niagara Falls, his life was cut short when he suddenly had a heart attack at the age of 17. He didn’t have any known health concerns — and his death follows a mysterious string of walrus deaths at that aquarium.
Phil Demers, a former Marineland trainer turned animal advocate, said he worked closely with Apollo — and that while the walrus never showed signs of illness, he never seemed fully comfortable living in captivity.
"Apollo was a sweet animal," Demers told CBC. “He wasn't your alpha male type. He was a real sweetheart. He was never comfortable with his life in captivity, but he was never an aggressive animal."
In the wild, walruses typically live in large herds. The only remaining walrus at Marineland is now living alone and still being used in performances until further notice, the aquarium said.
Now, Demers wants to encourage the public to support the move of the aquarium’s only walrus to a different facility where she can live with others.
"Her personality is such that she needs other walruses, she needs companionship," he said. "The situation is absolutely critical."
To help the remaining walrus and other animals at Marineland, you can support Demers' court case against the park by making a donation.
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