Wally the Walrus, Europe's most famous walrus, has amazingly returned to Irish waters, as his never-ending tour of Europe continues.
Wally was first spotted on the rocks of Valentia Island last March. He communicated to Anthony Fitzgerald, which performed arguably the greatest walrus impersonation ever enacted on television.
If you listen to some walrus field recordings online you'll find this impersonation of the Valentia Island walrus by Anthony Fitzgerald is exceptional. He also recounts how he heard it call.#Kerry #walrus pic.twitter.com/BuWe4rf3Gk
— Seán Mac an tSíthigh (@Buailtin) March 16, 2021
From there, Wally headed south for warmer waters and has been spotted around France, Spain and Wales before spending six weeks on the Cornish coast. He was seen most recently at the Isles of Scilly before being spotted at Clonea Strand in Waterford yesterday afternoon.
What a weekend! Western Sandpiper and Walrus in County Waterford. Unbelievable! Thanks to @nialltkeogh for the heads up! 😎 pic.twitter.com/RErW0j964e
— Mícheál Cowming (@Watbirder1) August 2, 2021
Wally The Walrus and his amazing journey
Dan Jarvis of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) told the BBC he's delighted to see Wally continue along his journey.
"We are really pleased it has worked out for the best."
"The best news would be that he continues to travel north under his own steam."
"We'll just have to wait and see.
"He has been a very popular character while he's been here but we're all quite pleased that he's moved on now because we were starting to worry how long this might carry on for."
"He has certainly been a highlight and something to remember."
Wally is believed to originate in Svalbard, north of Norway. Some scientists believe he fell asleep on a floating sheet of ice and found himself very far from home.
Kevin Flannery of Dingle’s OceanWorld Aquarium explained to the Irish Times in March how unusual it is to encounter a walrus in Irish waters.
“By the time he realised he was probably far from home… He has no GPS so he probably just swam away and didn’t realise the direction until he found Valentia.”
Sea Rescue Ireland issued an appeal to Irish oceangoers to respect Wally if he is encountered.
The Walrus is back in Irish waters! The young, male Atlantic Walrus, who was originally sighted on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry last March, has returned to Irish waters after completing the European leg of his tour. 1/5
Pictures: Cormac Walsh / Ireland pic.twitter.com/KYFDFjouvb
— Seal Rescue Ireland (@seal_rescue) August 2, 2021
"We ask if anyone encounters the Walrus to please: 1) Do not approach him as he is a protected species. Observe quietly from a minimum of 300m and keep dogs on a lead. 2) Do not publicly disclose the location of the sighting to avoid attracting crowds to him. Remember that this is a very sensitive species, and he's a very long way from his Arctic home."
They also ask you to report all Wally sightings in Ireland to SRI's 24/7 Rescue Hotline on 0871955393.