Ayveq the Masturbating Walrus: Dead at Fourteen

Ayveq the Walrus

Ayveq, kissing us good-bye.Photo: kamila's flickr


One of the New York Aquarium's most popular attractions for over a decade has been Ayveq, a 2,700-pound walrus. The good-natured sea creature was "incredibly charismatic," according to Aquarium director Jon Forrest Dohlin. "A very social animal." He died of a massive bacterial infection on Sunday, many years earlier than expected. According to WNBC, the funeral was private, but a memorial service was held on Monday. Ayveq had a son, Akituusaq, last year with his partner, Kulusiq. He had courted her for years, according to the Brooklyn Paper, but his advances were only recently accepted (which may explain some things — see below). Press reports today extolled his adorable antics, which were performed for onlookers on land and also in front of a glass window at the bottom of his tank:

• "Ayveq loved the attention and, if for some reason, visitors failed to notice him, he would flip his flippers at the glass to attract attention, 'look them straight in the eye and give them a great big walrus grin.'" [WNBC]
• "Aquarium staff held a subdued service yesterday to remember the charismatic creature who loved to whistle and give them whiskery kisses." [NYDN]
• "Ayveq, the walrus whose bizarre, though oddly compelling, masturbation rituals made him an international sensation at the New York Aquarium, has died. He was 14. Though well-liked long before he discovered the habit that would make him a star, Ayveq’s frequent public self-gratification made him the Coney Island institution’s singular attraction." [Brooklyn Paper]

Thanks, Brooklyn Paper, for telling it like it was. Ayveq, you will be missed.