Wally the Walrus wanders off to Cornwall: Marine mammal who has delighted animal lovers in Ireland and Wales is now spotted off Padstow coast
- Arctic beast was spotted off the southern English coast by a photographer and safari guide on Wednesday
- The 600kg mammal was last seen in Tenby in Wales, where he was ‘scared off’ by ‘disruptive’ tourists
- Experts believe the animal may have initially dozed off on a block of ice and drifted across the ocean
- The much-loved creature was first seen on Valentia Island, in County Kerry, Ireland, on March 15 this year
Wally the Walrus is back in British waters after being spotted off the coast of Cornwall.
The Arctic mammal was pictured by photographer and safari guide Nathaniel Barry on Wednesday.
Wally was last seen on the Welsh coast before irresponsible tourists tried to approach him using jet-skis and drones, causing him to vanish.
‘Something I thought I’d never get the pleasure to see, a Walrus… in Cornwall!’ Mr Barry said.
‘This beauty was spotted today on one of the trips I went out on with Padstow Sealife Safaris.
‘We saw her and believed it was a big seal until later when she came closer and we got a shot of those tusks!
‘It’s been crazy the past few hours, emotions high and an absolute pleasure seeing.
‘It’s more than likely just passing and I won’t be giving out any full locations as at Padstow Sealife Safaris we never want to cause disturbance to wildlife.
‘I think I was more shocked than the passengers and kind of just got emotional because yeah, never expected it to ever happen.’
Wally the Walrus pictured in Cornwall after careless tourists scared him away from the Welsh coast with jet-skis, paddleboarding and drones
Wally the Walrus has travelled further south, from Wales to Cornwall, and remains thousands of miles away from his native home in the Arctic
Photographer Nathaniel Barry first thought Wally was a seal before seeing his unmistakable tusks while off the coast of Cornwall
The fresh sighting of Wally means he has moved even further south since the last sighting in Tenby, Wales.
He was first spotted on rocks in County Kerry in Ireland on March 15.
Experts believe the animal may have initially dozed off on a block of ice and drifted across the ocean.
Six days after appearing in Ireland, the RSPCA were called out to check on the creature – which was ‘underweight’ – at the bottom of a cliff near Broad Haven South beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
But after becoming a known figure in the area, animal welfare groups believe he left after becoming ‘obviously disturbed’ by day-trippers getting too close.
Irresponsible tourists tried to approach him using jet-skis, paddleboards and drones as he rested on a RNLI slipway in the town’s harbour.
Terry Leadbetter, of Welsh Marine Life Rescue said: ‘It was an absolute nightmare trying to keep people away.
‘There were even people flying drones trying to get close. People were getting within a couple of metres of the walrus.
Wally is believed to have drifted on ice from Greenland to County Kerry, Ireland before making his way to Tenby in Wales, where he became a local attraction and household name before being ‘scared off’ by tourists attempting to get too close
A volunteer tries to move Wally off a boathouse slipway in Tenby, Wales, where the arctic beast was last seen by Britons
Local businesses were quick to cash in on the popularity of the walrus, creating Wally ‘merch’, including cuddly toys and postcards carrying the animal’s likeness
Shops sold cushions and pillows featuring Wally, with one store donating proceeds to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RLNI), which had seen its activity halted by the 600kg animal, which enjoyed snoozing on its slipway in Tenby
‘Wally was aware that people were there and was obviously disturbed.
‘Walruses have been known to attack boats and they’ve been known to kill people so like any other wild animal you don’t want to get too close just in case.
‘These people are just going up to it and taking their chances.
‘They are unpredictable, and you don’t know if they are likely to turn around and attack someone or not. Someone who is acting irresponsibly could get injured.’
Welsh Marine Life Rescue added: ‘We believe that people have been breaking Covid restrictions by crossing the border from England to see the animal.
‘There was one report that someone even travelled from as far as Essex and many people weren’t sticking to social distancing.’
RSPCA animal rescue officer Ellie West described Wally’s plight as ‘sad’ during Radio 4’s Today programme back in March.
She said at the time: ‘Whilst it is a very unusual sight […] it is quite a sad occurrence because we have to remember that this walrus is a very, very long way from where he should be.
‘We’re talking about a wild animal that’s still very mobile. He’s very big, we’re talking about much bigger than our normal seals. This one, although he’s of a large size he is a bit underweight.’
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