Where’s Wally? Famous travelling UK walrus sets up home on motorboat

Arctic animal spotted relaxing on vessel off Irish coast in West Cork

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 12 August 2021 17:29 BST
Wally the Walrus appears to drive a boat he clambered into during latest escapade

Europe’s famous travelling walrus appears to have set up home on a motorboat in Ireland.

The Arctic animal, which is thought to have originally come from Svalbard, north of Norway, has previously been spotted hundreds of miles from home in France, England and Wales.

In its latest escapade, the walrus, dubbed “Wally”, was seen relaxing on a moored boat belonging to Clonakilty Distillery in West Cork.

Clonakilty Distillery shared video footage on Twitter showing the walrus on board the floating vessel in the middle of the sea.

The distillery wrote: “One of our team had an unexpected Artic visitor on their boat this evening.

“Wallythewalrus spotted in Clonakilty today.... we reckon he must have stopped by on his travels for a refreshing Minke G&T.”

Walruses are semi-aquatic and therefore need to “haul out” of the water for rest and reproduction.

But experts say the sea ice walruses depend on are melting faster than predicted and more are hauling out on land or - in this case - floating objects.

Officials on the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall ended up building a pontoon for Wally to rest after the walrus caused thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to boats in St Mary’s harbour.

And Seal Rescue Ireland is now looking to create a similar floating platform as a safe haul-out site.

The charity called on people to stay at least 100 metres away from the “sensitive” species and to report sightings so they can track its whereabouts.

Wally the Walrus checking out a boat off the coast of Ardmore, County Waterford, earlier this month (Niall Carson/PA)

“We are looking for a pontoon/floating platform as a safe haul-out site for the Walrus, so that he can be effectively monitored, protected from disturbance, and damage to property prevented,” the charity said.

“As a pinniped (like seals and sea lions), walruses are semi-aquatic, which means they must come up on land (or a floating object) to rest.

“This also means that they are more vulnerable to human disturbances.”

The Blue Planet Society added: “He doesn't have any icebergs to haul out on, so he uses boats.

“Whilst this may appear to be amusing, it will also make people very angry.

“Please be tolerant until a solution can be found. In the Isles of Scilly they built him a pontoon.”

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