A walrus that accidentally made its way from the Arctic Circle to an Irish beach last month, probably while napping on a drifting iceberg, has continued its antics by climbing onto passing ships and even sleeping on a designated slipway. to lifeboats.
As the marine mammal, affectionately named Wally, has become something of a tourist attraction, conservation groups and local authorities are concerned that so much human attention could disturb the walrus. Now they warn tourists to leave the walrus only after reports made over Easter weekend that motorcyclists, surfers and paddle surfers have been teasing the lazy, weeping mammal by getting too close.
A 5-year-old girl walking with her father saw Wally for the first time on March 14; was dumped on the rocks of Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland, Live Science previously reported. No one knows how it reached a destination thousands of miles from its usual location in the Arctic, but a marine biologist speculated that the animal fell asleep on a drifting iceberg.
But Wally’s journey didn’t end on that beach. It traveled 450 kilometers (280 miles) further south, from County Kerry to Pembrokeshire, Wales, in just six days.
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Wally who was visually identified By a conservation group like the same walrus seen in Ireland, it has been causing mischief by hitchhiking on passing boats. The cow-sized mammal’s cumbersome attempts to climb aboard a boat ended up capsizing it, witnesses said.
A joint statement issued by the RSPCA, Tenby Harbor Master, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby Lifeboat Station, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Monitoring has warned tourists not to get too close to Wally, who is protected. by the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.
“We understand that it is exciting and unusual for the walrus to take a temporary residence in Tenby, and that during the holiday weekend, many people may wish to visit the area in hopes of seeing it,” they said in the statement. “However, the best thing for him is to be left alone as much as possible, so we ask people to remember that he is a wild animal and to avoid the temptation to approach him and disturb him.”
The statement specifically called out recreationists in the nearby waters. “We are really concerned about reports that some people have tried to approach him using jet skis or paddle boards and surfers – this really is not in his best interest and we urge people to act responsibly this weekend and If they are in the area, to enjoy it from a distance ”, says the statement.
Walruses are rarely seen this far south of the Arctic Circle, where they typically hunt for shellfish in shallow water and roost on nearby beaches and icebergs. The first recorded sighting of walrus along the Irish coast was in 1897. Since then, fewer than two dozen additional walruses have been seen in Ireland. Live Science previously reported.
Walruses are not the only arctic animal that has been recorded taking a vacation in the south: in 2018, a beluga whale was spotted in Gravesend in Kent, and in 1949, two narwhals appeared on the Thames and the Medway Canal.
Originally posted on Live Science.