An Arctic walrus that appeared on the coast of Ireland in March before venturing to Wales, Cornwall, France, and Spain returned to Irish waters “after completing the European leg of his tour,” Seal Rescue Ireland confirmed on Monday, August 2.
The walrus had spent more than six weeks in the Isles of Scilly in southwest England where he “sank a few boats,” BBC Cornwall reported. Experts told the BBC they hoped Wally would find his way back home.
A drone-mounted camera captured the young, male Atlantic walrus, affectionately named Wally by fans and media, lounging in sunshine on an otherwise empty boat in waters off Ireland’s County Waterford on Tuesday. “We just arrived in Ardmore and you won’t guess who also just arrived today for his holiday,” drone pilot Alan O’Reilly tweeted.
Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) urged people to avoid disturbing the walrus. “Giving him space and time to recuperate is the best way to minimize the risk of stress/injury and help him regain the strength he will need to make the journey back to his Arctic home,” they wrote on Facebook. They asked that people observe the walrus – a protected species – from a minimum of 300 meters, to keep dogs on a leash, to report sightings to SRI, and to refrain from sharing his location with anyone else.
“Remember that this is a very sensitive species, and he’s a very long way from his native northern waters,” SRI wrote.
Visits from Arctic species such as Wally the Walrus were likely to become more common as melting ice diminished their natural habitat, the group said. “We understand that these are rare and exciting sightings. Still, they are also a stark reminder of the current climate emergency and its damaging impact on our planet and all of its inhabitants,” SRI wrote. Credit: Alan O’Reilly via Storyful