The giant walrus was first spotted in South Pembrokeshire, Wales on the 20th March and has now spent almost two months at Tenby. It is thought to be the same walrus that had been spotted in County Kerry, Ireland the week before.
The huge animal, said to be as big as a cow, has affectionately been named Wally. It is believed to be a young adult and is a long way from it’s home in the Arctic. Originally from Greenland, Wally is thought to have crossed the sea after falling asleep on a floating iceberg. It is also thought that climate change could have played a part in the long trip, as melting sea ice forces walruses to look for food further from home. The WWF say climate change is “the greatest threat” to the animals, who can live to be 40 years old.
It was a very unusual call-out for the RSPCA’s team. RSPCA national wildlife coordinator Geoff Edmond said to BBC Radio 4, "While we’ve been rescuing animals and responding to welfare calls for almost 200 years, I believe this is our first ever walrus call!" Animal rescue officer Ellie West added, "I will certainly never forget this day, in fact it's still sinking in that I've been monitoring a walrus on the Pembrokeshire coast."
Wally’s fame has attracted many visitors to the area, hoping to get a glimpse
After first being spotted near Broad Haven South beach, the walrus moved to Tenby harbour, where he has now spent several weeks. He briefly disappeared on Easter Monday but returned four days later. Whilst residing in Tenby, Wally has been getting up to some mischief. One morning, onlookers reported seeing the animal capsize a dingy as he tried to get aboard a fishing boat that was moored in the harbour. Beachgoer Martyn Thomas told the BBC the creature “had its flippers right up to the deck. It was like it wanted to get aboard."
Wally’s fame has attracted many visitors to the area, hoping to get a glimpse. However, this has a downside as people getting too near can be disturbing for the walrus. Animal welfare and conservation groups, including the RSPCA, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby's Harbour Master, Tenby Lifeboat Service, Natural Resources Wales, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and CSIP Marine Environmental Monitoring, have issued a joint statement asking the public to remember Wally is a wild animal and not get too close.