July 3, 2024

Indianapolis Zoo welcomes back walruses Ginger and Aku to updated exhibit

Pacific walruses Ginger and Aku have returned to their exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo. - Zach Bundy / WFYI

Pacific walruses Ginger and Aku have returned to their exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Zach Bundy / WFYI

The Indianapolis Zoo on July 1 welcomed back Ginger and Aku, two Pacific walruses who have spent the last 18 months away at SeaWorld Orlando while renovations were done to their exhibit.

Stacey Green, general curator at the Zoo, says the upgrades are significant.

"Basically, we redid the entire exhibit, all the structural [parts]," Green said. "We have created a little bit more space on the island area for them to lay down."

Ginger and Aku are both seven years old. Green said walruses typically live 25 to 35 years, but in human care tend to live longer. Gingers's dad, Garfield, is in his 40s.

After being transported back to Indianapolis from Orlando, Green said Ginger and Aku entered their new digs with no problem at all.

"They've been enjoying it," Green said. "They really love interacting with our guests here."

With the walruses' return, the Indianapolis Zoo is once again among a group of only four facilities in the U.S. to house the animal, according to Green. As Ginger and Aku swim and splash around their exhibit, she emphasized what their return means to zoo visitors.

"I'm just really happy that they're back. They are ambassadors to their species. And I think people get more engaged about conservation because we have these wonderful animals," Green said.

Ginger and Aku can be seen in their new exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo in Downtown Indy.

Contact WFYI digital producer and reporter Zach Bundy at zbundy@wfyi.org.

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