Give Wally a break: Experts warn wandering walrus is at risk of harm from the public and sea vessels after he made it to Scilly Isles in latest stop of epic journey
- Sea mammal was spotted on boats and rocks in St Mary’s harbour on Wednesday
- RIB that Wally climbed onboard was towed with people asked to ‘give wide berth’
- Experts reminded public that walruses are legally protected from disturbance
- Wally seen in Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, France and Spain over past few months
Experts have warned Wally the Walrus is at risk of harm from the public and sea vessels after he made it to the Isles of Scilly in the latest stop of his epic journey.
The sea mammal was snapped by boatman Joe Badock taking a nap on the tail ramp of the Star of Life – a purpose built floating ambulance that serves the archipelago.
He has been spotted on boats and rocks in St Mary’s harbour with some people keen to get close.
But the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) felt prompted to remind the public that all walruses are legally protected from disturbance.
Since March, Wally has visited Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, France and Spain.
Wally the Walrus was snapped by boatman Joe Badock taking a nap on the tail ramp of the Star of Life – a purpose built floating ambulance that serves the archipelago
Wally pictured off the Isles of Scilly earlier this month on June 17. Since March, Wally has visited Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, France and Spain
A from the MMO said: ‘We have received messages that the walrus currently on the Isles of Scilly is regularly being disturbed by vessels and the public.
‘Walruses are protected from disturbance under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. So please keep your distance and do not approach.’
On Wednesday, St Mary’s harbour towed a RIB (Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat) that Wally climbed aboard to a safer position and asked people to ‘give this vessel a wide berth’.
The Isles of Scilly Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority posted on Twitter: ‘Please use common sense, binoculars and zoom lenses and give the walrus plenty of space.’
Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the Orca charity which protects marine wildlife, explained why the animal was behaving the way he is.
She told the BBC: ‘Walruses spend 25 per cent of the time resting so Wally is going around trying to find resting places.
‘He is building up his energy reserves as he has done a lot of swimming to get here from Spain, and has a lot more swimming to do to get home.’
She said it was hoped he would continue to make his way to the Arctic, but ‘judging by what has happened over the last few months he might take a leisurely swim back north and so we might see him around the UK for a little while yet.’
Wally the famous Arctic Walrus causing havoc for boat owners of the Isles of Scilly earlier this month after returning to the UK coast. Images show the walrus deflating rubber dinghies after trying to climb on top for a rest (pictured)
Witnesses previously said Wally’s sharp tusks popped several dinghies that were attached to the back of yachts in the area (pictured)
Ms Babey added that he was being monitored and appeared to be healthy but ‘he probably hasn’t come into contact with humans before so is curious – another reason to keep a distance is for our safety, as well as his’.
A petition has also been set up entitled: ‘Get Wally the walrus home.’
It says: ‘Perhaps a large boat with a flat and large enough rear access deck for Wally to come and go as he wished with zero human contact could work?’
Animal welfare groups Wally initially came across the North Atlantic ocean from Greenland on an ice floe.
He was first seen in Ireland before taking up residence in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, in March this year.