E.T., the walrus who came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as an orphan 32 years ago, is in "guarded" condition after falling suddenly ill on Monday, zoo officials say.
“His blood values point to an infection,” said head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf. “We are continuing diagnostic tests and providing treatment based on those blood values.”A team of three staff veterinarians is working to pinpoint the origin of E.T.'s illness, which has left him extremely lethargic and refusing to eat, zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.
"We're very concerned," Goodrowe Beck said.
E.T. has been lying quietly in his behind-the-scenes bedroom area since Monday.
The zoo's medical staff, led by Dr. Wolf, is investigating some abnormal blood levels, working to keep E.T. hydrated with fluids and administering a variety of medications, Goodrowe Beck said.
Zoo officials have asked several other veterinarians with expertise in marine mammal medicine to assist with E.T.'s care.
"Right now, we don't know what caused this illness," Goodrowe Beck said. "Our veterinary staff and the experts we're bringing in are taking all measures to care for E.T., treat his symptoms and determine the cause."
The 3,300-pound walrus is receiving round-the-clock attention from veterinary and other zoological staff members, including the keepers who care for him on a daily basis.